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Mobility, risk tolerance and competence to manage risks

Allan M. Williams and Vladimír Baláž
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Vladimir Balaz ()

Journal of Risk Research, 2014, vol. 17, issue 8, 1061-1088

Abstract: Migration is a risky behaviour because of the uncertainty about future wages, living conditions, changing relationships with family and friends and cultural adjustment. While there has been some research on risk and uncertainty in migration, this has mostly been approached as a form of 'rational' decision-making: such approaches explain why some groups of individuals are more likely than others to migrate, but are limited in explaining individual variations in behaviour within these groups. Individual migrants vs. non-migrants are self-selected in terms of tolerance of risk and uncertainty but, with very few exceptions, there has been no research on migration within the framework of risk tolerance/aversion and competence to manage risk. Moreover, existing research is based on, and constrained by the limitations of, incumbent data-sets. Drawing on a specially commissioned large-scale survey of the UK population, this paper uses principal component analysis and logistic regression to analyse the extent to which risk and risk-related measures can be used to predict four different types of mobility profiles. There are significant associations between these individual mobility characteristics and general risk/uncertainty tolerance, and competence-based tolerance. These are strongest in terms of the two most polarised mobility types: the least mobile, the Stayers, and the most mobile, the Roamers. Recognising that previous migration is exogenous, a further analysis of migration intentions, with previous migration included as an independent variable, finds the propensity for future migration is, in fact, negatively associated with previous migration, probably due to the importance of 'pure risk' as opposed to acquired competence via migration experience, and to life cycle considerations.

Date: 2014
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