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Self-Employment and Migration

Samuele Giambra () and David McKenzie ()
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Samuele Giambra: Brown University

No 12624, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: There is a widespread policy view that a lack of job opportunities at home is a key reason for migration, accompanied by suggestions of the need to spend more on creating these opportunities so as to reduce migration. Self-employment is widespread in poor countries, and faced with a lack of existing jobs, providing more opportunities for people to start businesses is a key policy option. But empirical evidence to support this idea is slight, and economic theory offers several reasons why the self-employed may in fact be more likely to migrate. We put together panel surveys from eight countries to descriptively examine the relationship between migration and self-employment, finding that the self-employed are indeed less likely to migrate than either wage workers or the unemployed. We then analyze seven randomized experiments that increased self-employment, and find their causal impacts on migration are negative on average, but often small in magnitude.

Keywords: internal migration; international migration; self-employment; migrant selection; randomized experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J61 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 72 pages
Date: 2019-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-int, nep-lab, nep-mig and nep-ure
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Working Paper: Self-employment and Migration (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Self-Employment and Migration (2019) Downloads
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