Migration and Development: Dissecting the Anatomy of the Mobility Transition

34 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2016

See all articles by Thu Dao

Thu Dao

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - School of Economic and Social Research (IRES)

Frédéric Docquier

Université catholique de Louvain; CREAM, Centre for Research on Environmental Appraisal & Management, UK; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Christopher Robert Parsons

The University of Western Australia - Department of Economics

Giovanni Peri

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Abstract

Emigration first increases before decreasing with economic development. This bell-shaped relationship between emigration and development was first hypothesized by the theory of the mobility transition (Zelinsky, 1971). Although several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the upward segment of the curve (the most common being the existence of financial constraints), they have not been examined in a systematic way. In this paper, we develop a novel migration accounting methodology and use it to quantify the main drivers of the mobility transition curve.Our analysis distinguishes between migration aspirations and realization rates of college-educated and less educated individuals at the bilateral level. Between one-third and one-half of the slope of the increasing segment is due to the changing skill composition of working-age populations, and another third is due to changing network size. The microeconomic channel (including financial incentives and constraints) only accounts for one fourth of the total effect in low-income countries, and for less than one fifth in lower-middle-income countries. Finally, our methodology sheds light on the microfoundations of migration decisions.

Keywords: Migration, Development, Aspirations, Credit Constraints

JEL Classification: F22, O15

Suggested Citation

Dao, Thu and Docquier, Frédéric and Parsons, Christopher Robert and Peri, Giovanni, Migration and Development: Dissecting the Anatomy of the Mobility Transition. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10272. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2849757

Thu Dao

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - School of Economic and Social Research (IRES)

3, Place Montesquieu
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
Belgium

Frédéric Docquier

Université catholique de Louvain ( email )

IRES
Place Montesquieu 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://https://perso.uclouvain.be/frederic.docquier/

CREAM, Centre for Research on Environmental Appraisal & Management, UK

University of Newcastle
NE1 7RU Newcastle Upon Tyne
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Christopher Robert Parsons (Contact Author)

The University of Western Australia - Department of Economics ( email )

35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

Giovanni Peri

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States
530-752-3033 (Phone)
530-752-9382 (Fax)

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