Intentions to Return of Clandestine Migrants: The Perverse Effect of Illegality on Skills

17 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2009

See all articles by Nicola D. Coniglio

Nicola D. Coniglio

Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro” (UNIBA) - Department of Economics and Mathematical Methods

Giuseppe De Arcangelis

Sapienza Università di Roma

Laura Serlenga

Università degli Studi di Bari; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract

In this paper we show that highly skilled clandestine migrants are more likely to return home than migrants with low or no skills when illegality causes “skill waste”, i.e. when illegality reduces the rate of return of individual capabilities (i.e. skills and human capital) in the country of destination. In a simple life-cycle framework, illegality is modeled as a tax on skills that reduces the opportunity cost of returning home particularly for the highly skilled. This proposition is tested on a sample of apprehended immigrants that unlawfully crossed the Italian borders in 2003. The estimation confirms that the intention to return to the home country is more likely for highly skilled illegal immigrants. The empirical results of this paper attenuate the common wisdom on the return decisions of legal migrants, according to which low-skill individuals are more likely to go back home (mainly because of negative self-selection).

Suggested Citation

Coniglio, Nicola D. and De Arcangelis, Giuseppe and Serlenga, Laura, Intentions to Return of Clandestine Migrants: The Perverse Effect of Illegality on Skills. Review of Development Economics, Vol. 13, Issue 4, pp. 641-657, November 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1488516 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9361.2009.00518.x

Nicola D. Coniglio (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro” (UNIBA) - Department of Economics and Mathematical Methods ( email )

Largo Abbey St. Scholastica
Bari, 70124
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.dse.uniba.it/Corsi/docenti/Coniglio/Nicola_paginaWeb.htm

Giuseppe De Arcangelis

Sapienza Università di Roma ( email )

Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali ed Economiche
P.le Aldo Moro 5
Rome, 00185
Italy
+390649910489 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/a/uniroma1.it?pli=1

Laura Serlenga

Università degli Studi di Bari ( email )

Piazza Umberto I
Bari, 70121
Italy

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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