Refugees' and Irregular Migrants' Self-Selection into Europe: Who Migrates Where?

80 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2019

See all articles by Cevat Giray Aksoy

Cevat Giray Aksoy

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; King’s College London; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Panu Poutvaara

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics; ifo Institut - Leibniz-Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung an der Universitaet Muenchen e.V.; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); CReAM; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Abstract

We analyze self-selection of refugees and irregular migrants and test our theory in the context of the European refugee crisis. Using unique datasets from the International Organization for Migration and Gallup World Polls, we provide the first large-scale evidence on reasons to emigrate, and the self-selection and sorting of refugees and irregular migrants. Refugees and female irregular migrants are positively self-selected with respect to human capital, while male irregular migrants are negatively self-selected. These patterns are similar when analyzing individually stated main reason to emigrate, country-level conflict intensity, and sub-regional conflict intensity. Migrants respond to economic incentives and border policies.

Keywords: international migration, refugees, irregular migrants, self-selection, human capital, gender differences in migration

JEL Classification: F22, J15, J16, J24, O15

Suggested Citation

Aksoy, Cevat Giray and Poutvaara, Panu, Refugees' and Irregular Migrants' Self-Selection into Europe: Who Migrates Where?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12800, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3495777

Cevat Giray Aksoy (Contact Author)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( email )

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King’s College London ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Panu Poutvaara

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics ( email )

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Munich, D-80539
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ifo Institut - Leibniz-Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung an der Universitaet Muenchen e.V. ( email )

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