Migration from Developing Countries: Selection, Income Elasticity and Simpson's Paradox
Michael Clemens and
Mariapia Mendola ()
No 465, Development Working Papers from Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano
How does immigration affect incomes in the countries migrants go to, and how do rising incomes shape emigration from the countries they leave? The answers depend on whether people who migrate have higher or lower productivity than people who do not migrate. Theory on this subject has long exceeded evidence. We present estimates of emigrant selection on both observed and unobserved determinants of income, from across the developing world. We use nationally representative survey data on 7,013 people making active, costly preparations to emigrate from 99 developing countries during 2010–2015. We model the relationship between these measures of selection and the income elasticity of migration. In low-income countries, people actively preparing to emigrate have 30 percent higher incomes than others overall, 14 percent higher incomes explained by observable traits such as schooling, and 12 percent higher incomes explained by unobservable traits. Within low-income countries the income elasticity of emigration demand is 0.23. The world’s poor collectively treat migration not as an inferior good, but as a normal good. Any negative effect of higher income on emigration within subpopulations can reverse in the aggregate, because the composition of subpopulations shifts as incomes rise—an instance of Simpson’s paradox.
Date: 2020-09-07, Revised 2020-09-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev and nep-mig
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (14) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Our link check indicates that this URL is bad, the error code is: 404 Not Found
Working Paper: Migration from Developing Countries: Selection, Income Elasticity, and Simpson’s Paradox (2020)
Working Paper: Migration from Developing Countries: Selection, Income Elasticity, and Simpson's Paradox (2020)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:csl:devewp:465
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Development Working Papers from Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Chiara Elli ().