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Migration and the Option Value of Waiting



Migration is an investment: it involves fixed, unrecoverable costs and uncertain future returns. If migration can be postponed, the option value of doing so may have positive value. Migration may not occur for a range of individuals who would otherwise migrate on a net present value basis. This paper models the migration decision using ideas developed by Pindyck (1991) and Dixit (1992). The option value of waiting is related to the interest rate, fixed costs, and especially uncertainty governing the evolution of income at home and abroad. The `bad news principle' predicts that only unfavourable states of the world will affect the value of the migration option. In a rational intertemporal equilibrium of two regional labour markets, low migration rates may coexist with large or even increasing current wage differentials.
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Suggested Citation

  • M. C. Burda, 1995. "Migration and the Option Value of Waiting," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1995,58, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:199558

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Franses, Philip Hans, 1996. "Periodicity and Stochastic Trends in Economic Time Series," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774549.
    2. Osborn, Denise R., 1991. "The implications of periodically varying coefficients for seasonal time-series processes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 373-384, June.
    3. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501.
    4. Franses, Philip Hans & Paap, Richard, 1994. "Model Selection in Periodic Autoregressions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 56(4), pages 421-439, November.
    5. Proietti, Tommaso, 1997. "Short-Run Dynamics in Cointegrated Systems," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 59(3), pages 405-422, August.
    6. Breitung, Jorg & Franses, Philip Hans, 1997. "Impulse response functions for periodic integration," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 35-40, August.
    7. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-1580, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers


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