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Unilateral facilitation does not raise international labor migration from the Philippines

  • Beam, Emily
  • McKenzie, David
  • Yang, Dean

Significant income gains from migrating from poorer to richer countries have motivated unilateral (source-country) policies facilitating labor emigration. However, their effectiveness is unknown. The authors conducted a large-scale randomized experiment in the Philippines testing the impact of unilaterally facilitating international labor migration. The most intensive treatment doubled the rate of job offers but had no identifiable effect on international labor migration. Even the highest overseas job-search rate that was induced (22 percent) falls far short of the share initially expressing interest in migrating (34 percent). The paper concludes that unilateral migration facilitation will at most induce a trickle, not a flood, of additional emigration.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6689.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6689
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  1. Dean Yang, 2004. "Why Do Migrants Return to Poor Countries? Evidence from Philippine Migrants’ Responses to Exchange Rate Shocks," Working Papers 513, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. Christian Lumpe & Benjamin Weigert, 2009. "Immigration Policy, Equilibrium Unemployment, and Underinvestment in Human Capital," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(1), pages 97-130, 03.
  3. Puri, Shivani & Ritzema, Tineke, 1999. "Migrant worker remittances, micro-finance and the informal economy : prospects and issues," ILO Working Papers 357609, International Labour Organization.
  4. McKenzie, David & Theoharides, Caroline & Yang, Dean, 2012. "Distortions in the international migrant labor market :evidence from Filipino migration and wage responses to destination country economic shocks," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6041, The World Bank.
  5. McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2013. "A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold: Do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 116-127.
  6. Ozden, Caglar & Parsons, Christopher R. & Schiff, Maurice & Walmsley, Terrie L., 2011. "Where on earth is everybody ? the evolution of global bilateral migration 1960-2000," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5709, The World Bank.
  7. David McKenzie & Steven Stillman & John Gibson, 2010. "How Important is Selection? Experimental VS. Non‐Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
  8. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
  9. Ortega, Javier, 2000. "Pareto-Improving Immigration in an Economy with Equilibrium Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 92-112, January.
  10. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2012. "Thinking Small: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty : Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 115-27, March.
  11. Michael A. Clemens, 2011. "Economics and Emigration: Trillion-Dollar Bills on the Sidewalk?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 83-106, Summer.
  12. McKenzie, David, 2007. "Paper Walls Are Easier to Tear Down: Passport Costs and Legal Barriers to Emigration," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 2026-2039, November.
  13. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2010. "The development impact of a best practice seasonal worker policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5488, The World Bank.
  14. Gharad Bryan & Shyamal Chowdhury & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, 2014. "Underinvestment in a Profitable Technology: The Case of Seasonal Migration in Bangladesh," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 1671-1748, 09.
  15. Orley C. Ashenfelter, 2012. "Comparing Real Wages," NBER Working Papers 18006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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