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Stymied Ambition: Does a Lack of Economic Freedom Lead to Migration?

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  • Renner, Laura
  • Meierrieks, Daniel

Abstract

This contribution investigates the relationship between economic freedom and international migration. We argue that higher levels of economic freedom in the source countries of migration may discourage migration by generating more economic security, providing more economic opportunities and stimulating overall economic activity. Using a panel dataset on migration from 91 developing and emerging to the 20 most attractive OECD destination countries for the 1980-2010 period, we find that more economic freedom at home discourages high-skilled migration but does not matter to low-skilled migration. The negative association between economic freedom and skilled emigration also holds when we estimate dynamic-panel models that allow for endogeneity in the economic freedom-migration nexus. Our findings thus suggest that high-skilled individuals are especially responsive to the economic incentives arising from higher levels of economic freedom.

Suggested Citation

  • Renner, Laura & Meierrieks, Daniel, 2016. "Stymied Ambition: Does a Lack of Economic Freedom Lead to Migration?," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145546, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc16:145546
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    Cited by:

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    2. Tadesse Soka Gignarta & ZhenZhong Guan & Dinkneh Gebre Borojo, 2020. "The Impacts of Economic Freedom and Institutional Quality on Migration from African Countries," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 88(3), pages 242-266, September.
    3. Eric Schuss, 2016. "Between Life Cycle Model, Labor Market Integration and Discrimination: An Econometric Analysis of the Determinants of Return Migration," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 881, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Krieger, Tim & Renner, Laura & Schmid, Lena, 2019. "Where do migrants from countries ridden by environmental conflict settle? On the scale, selection and sorting of conflict-induced migration," Discussion Paper Series 2019-03, University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy.
    5. Krieger, Tim & Renner, Laura & Ruhose, Jens, 2018. "Long-term relatedness between countries and international migrant selection," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 35-54.
    6. Dibeh, Ghassan & Fakih, Ali & Marrouch, Walid, 2018. "Labor Market and Institutional Drivers of Youth Irregular Migration: Evidence from the MENA Region," IZA Discussion Papers 11903, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Schmid, Lena & Renner, Laura, 2020. "The Decision to Flee: Analyzing Gender-Specific Determinants of International Refugee Migration," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224596, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Simon Winter, 2020. "“It’s the Economy, Stupid!”: On the Relative Impact of Political and Economic Determinants on Migration," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 39(2), pages 207-252, April.
    9. Lu, Shengfeng & Chen, Sixia & Wang, Peigang, 2019. "Language barriers and health status of elderly migrants: Micro-evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 94-112.

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    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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