The International Mobility of the Super-Rich

10 Pages Posted: 4 May 2012

See all articles by Tino Sanandaji

Tino Sanandaji

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Date Written: March 6, 2012


Relying on Forbes Magazine annual rankings for two decades, 1625 billionaires and their countries of birth and residence are identified, most of whom are self-made entrepreneurs. 13 percent of billionaires reside in a country other than that of their birth. Migration is linked to distance, to cultural ties and to the per capita income of the respective source and host country. Capital taxes have a statistically significant though economically modest effect. 80 percent of those who moved migrated from a lower per capita income to a higher per capita income country and 70 percent from a higher tax country to a lower tax country. Self-made billionaires are more likely to move to countries with larger market sizes. Overall surprisingly few billionaire entrepreneurs migrate. Previous research has found that self-employed tend to work in their home community at higher rates than employees. Entrepreneurship too appears to be local, with private equity be characterized by a home bias. One explanation may be the wide dispersion and local nature of information as emphasized by Hayek.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Migration, Taxes

JEL Classification: L26, F22, H2

Suggested Citation

Sanandaji, Tino, The International Mobility of the Super-Rich (March 6, 2012). IFN Working Paper No. 904, Available at SSRN: or

Tino Sanandaji (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

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