Mette Foged, Giovanni Peri, 19 April 2015

The inflow of low-skilled migrants may encourage natives to upgrade their skills, taking advantage of immigrant-native complementarity. This column uses exogenous dispersion of refugees in Denmark to investigate this issue. The findings confirm that for low-skilled native workers, the presence of refugee-country immigrants spurred mobility and increased specialisation into complex jobs.

Trevon D. Logan, John M. Parman, 09 March 2015

Racial disparities in socioeconomic conditions remain a major policy issue throughout the world. This column applies a new neighbour-based measure of residential segregation to US census data from 1880 and 1940. The authors find that existing measures understate the extent of segregation, and that segregation increased in rural as well as urban areas. The dramatic decline in opposite-race neighbours during the 20th century may help to explain the persistence of racial inequality in the US.

Assaf Razin, Efraim Sadka, Benjarong Suwankiri, 17 January 2015

Allowing greater immigration may raise tax revenue and help pay for the welfare state, but it also affects the future composition of the voting population. This column discusses a political-economy model in which the largest group in a winning coalition chooses tax and immigration policies, and explains how the composition of the voting population changes over time.

Clément Imbert, 10 January 2015

Rural policies that affect migration to the cities may have significant impact on urban labour markets. However, there is little empirical evidence on the magnitude of these effects. This column argues that India’s rural employment guarantee – the world’s largest workfare programme – reduces short-term migration from rural areas. At the same time, it increases wages of urban unskilled workers. 

Corrado Giulietti, Jackline Wahba, Yves Zenou, 21 December 2014

Migration is heavily influenced by social networks. Nonetheless, little is known about the underlying mechanisms. This column uses a new dataset from China to disentangle the effects of strong and weak ties on the migration decision. The findings indicate that strong and weak ties act as complements. Having many weak ties with an urban area amplifies the positive impact of having a strong tie in the same area. 

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