Global Evidence on Prospective Migrants from Developing Countries
32 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2018
Date Written: September 20, 2018
This paper examines the determinants of individual intentions to migrate abroad by using a recent global survey and by exploiting both within and cross-country variation in standard migration drivers. The sample includes more than 1 million individuals, drawn as representative samples from 159 countries around the world, representing 98 percent of the world’s population and income. The analysis focuses on developing regions and shows that migration intentions differ substantially across countries and are correlated with structural economic factors such as farmland availability, rural population share and especially local joblessness. Heterogeneity within countries is even more pronounced though. International migration intentions vary systematically with key individual characteristics – age, gender, education and income – but some of these relationships are not similar across countries. Finally, we quantify the hump shape of the 'individual mobility transition' in countries with different levels of development and show that cross-border migration intentions rise sharply with income when respondents get richer among poorer people, while the same does not hold when richer respondents are in richer contexts.
Keywords: International Migration, Migration intentions, Developing Countries, Cross-country survey data
JEL Classification: F01, F22, O15
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