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Zsoka Koczan, Magali Pinat, and Mr. Dmitriy L Rozhkov
International migration is an important channel of material improvement for individuals and their offspring. The movement of people across country borders, especially from less developed to richer countries, has a substantial impact in several dimensions. First, it affects the migrants themselves by allowing them to achieve higher income as a result of their higher productivity in the destination country. It also increases the expected income for their offspring. Second, it affects the destination country through the impact on labor markets, productivity, innovation, demographic structure, fiscal balance, and criminality. Third, it can have a significant impact on the countries of origin. It may lead to loss of human capital, but it also creates a flow of remittances and increases international connections in the form of trade, FDI, and technological transfers. This paper surveys our understanding of how migration affects growth and inequality through the impact on migrants themselves as well as on the destination and origin countries.
Ruchir Agarwal, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaulé, and Geoff Smith
This paper studies the impact of U.S. immigration barriers on global knowledge production. We present four key findings. First, among Nobel Prize winners and Fields Medalists, migrants to the U.S. play a central role in the global knowledge network—representing 20-33% of the frontier knowledge producers. Second, using novel survey data and hand-curated life-histories of International Math Olympiad (IMO) medalists, we show that migrants to the U.S. are up to six times more productive than migrants to other countries—even after accounting for talent during one’s teenage years. Third, financing costs are a key factor preventing foreign talent from migrating abroad to pursue their dream careers, particularly for talent from developing countries. Fourth, certain ‘push’ incentives that reduce immigration barriers—by addressing financing constraints for top foreign talent—could increase the global scientific output of future cohorts by 42 percent. We concludeby discussing policy options for the U.S. and the global scientific community.
Arina Viseth
This paper uses census and household survey data on Cameroon, Ghana, and South Africa to examine immigration’s impact in the context of a segmented labor market in Sub-Saharan Africa. We find that immigration affects (i) employment (ii) employment allocation between informal and formal sectors, and (iii) the type of employment within each sector. The direction of the impact depends on the degree of complementarity between immigrants and native workers’ skills. Immigration is found to be productivity-enhancing in the short to near term in countries where, the degree of complementarity between immigrants and native workers’ skill sets is the highest.
Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mary E. Burfisher, Mr. Julian T Chow, Ding Ding, Fabio Di Vittorio, Dmitriy Kovtun, Arnold McIntyre, Ms. Inci Ötker, Marika Santoro, Lulu Shui, and Karim Youssef
Deeper economic integration within the Caribbean has been a regional policy priority since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the decision to create the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Implementation of integration initiatives has, however, been slow, despite the stated commitment of political leaders. The “implementation deficit” has led to skepticism about completing the CSME and controversy regarding its benefits. This paper analyzes how Caribbean integration has evolved, discusses the obstacles to progress, and explores the potential benefits from greater integration. It argues that further economic integration through liberalization of trade and labor mobility can generate significant macroeconomic benefits, but slow progress in completing the institutional arrangements has hindered implementation of the essential components of the CSME and progress in economic integration. Advancing institutional integration through harmonization and rationalization of key institutions and processes can reduce the fixed costs of institutions, providing the needed scale and boost to regional integration. Greater cooperation in several functional policy areas where the region is facing common challenges can also provide low-hanging fruit, creating momentum toward full integration as the Community continues to address the obstacles to full economic integration.
Mr. Tamim Bayoumi and Jelle Barkema
Using bilateral data on migration across US metro areas, we find strong evidence that increasing house price and income inequality has reduced long distance migration, the type most linked to jobs. For those migrating uphill, from a less to a more prosperous location, lower mobility is driven by increasing house price inequlity, as the disincentives from higher house prices dominate the incentives from higher earnings. By contrast, increasing income inequality drives the fall in downhill migration as the disincentives from lower earnings dominate the incentives from lower house prices. The model underlines the plight of those trapped in decaying metro areas—those “left behind”.
Lucy Qian Liu
This paper studies the main factors that explain the low regional mobility in Spain, with a view to identifying policy options at the regional and central level to promote labor mobility. The empirical analysis finds that house prices, labor market conditions, and the pervasiveness of labor market duality at the regional level are the main determinants for Spain’s regional mobility, while labor market institutions and policies play an important role at the national level. Policies that facilitate wage setting flexibility and reduce labor market duality could help enhance the functioning of the labor market, thereby promoting labor mobility. There may be also room for policies to incentivize people to move and provide support through targeted active labor market policies.
Benjamin Hilgenstock and Zsoka Koczan
The paper examines the potential effects of international migration on labor force participation in advanced economies in Europe. It documents that migration played a significant role in alleviating aging pressures on labor supply by affecting the age composition of receiving countries’ populations. However, micro-level analysis also points to differences in average educational levels, as well as differences in the effects of any given level of education on participation across migrants and natives. Difficulties related to the recognition of educational qualifications appear to be associated with smaller effects of education on the odds of participation for migrants, especially women.
Zsoka Koczan and Franz Loyola
The poverty-reducing effects of remittances have been well-documented, however, their effects on inequality are less clear. This paper examines the impact of remittances on inequality in Mexico using household-level information on the receiving side. It hopes to speak to their insurance role by examining how remittances are affected by domestic and external crises: the 1994 Mexican Peso crisis and the Global Financial Crisis. We find that remittances lower inequality, and that they become more pro-poor over time as migration opportunities become more widespread. This also strengthens their insurance effects, mitigating some of the negative impact of shocks on the poorest.
Mr. Ruben V Atoyan, Lone Engbo Christiansen, Allan Dizioli, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, Mr. Nadeem Ilahi, Ms. Anna Ilyina, Mr. Gil Mehrez, Mr. Haonan Qu, Ms. Faezeh Raei, Ms. Alaina P Rhee, and Ms. Daria V Zakharova
This paper analyses the impact of large and persistent emigration from Eastern European countries over the past 25 years on these countries’ growth and income convergence to advanced Europe. While emigration has likely benefited migrants themselves, the receiving countries and the EU as a whole, its impact on sending countries’ economies has been largely negative. The analysis suggests that labor outflows, particularly of skilled workers, lowered productivity growth, pushed up wages, and slowed growth and income convergence. At the same time, while remittance inflows supported financial deepening, consumption and investment in some countries, they also reduced incentives to work and led to exchange rate appreciations, eroding competiveness. The departure of the young also added to the fiscal pressures of already aging populations in Eastern Europe. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for sending countries to mitigate the negative impact of emigration on their economies, and the EU-wide initiatives that could support these efforts.