Migration

Gaurav Khanna, Wenquan Liang, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Ran Song, 08 April 2021

Why do workers remain in low-productivity areas when they could experience wage gains elsewhere? While the literature has proposed a few explanations, including the high cost and risky nature of migration, this column uses the case of China to examine instead the role that pollution plays. It finds that severe pollution can induce workers to relocate from productive to unproductive regions, suggesting that pollution control, coupled with policies facilitating migration, has the potential to bring about extra economic gains in developing countries.

Leonardo Bursztyn, Thomas Chaney, Tarek Hassan, Aakaash Rao, 21 March 2021

Hostility towards ethnic groups deemed ‘non-native’ has risen sharply in many countries over the last decade, in concert with a wave of far-right populism predicated on opposition to minorities and immigrants. This column examines the idea that greater intergroup contact can mitigate prejudice and increase altruism. Using a case study of Arab-Muslims in the US, it finds that long-term contact makes a majority group less prejudiced, less politically hostile, more altruistic toward minority communities, and even influences the political preferences of voters. 

Mette Foged, Linea Hasager, Giovanni Peri, 20 March 2021

The labour market integration of refugees and immigrants is key to their ability to contribute to the economy of the receiving country and to enhancing the fiscal sustainability of more open immigration policies. Using the quasi-random assignment of Danish refugees to language training, this column shows that language acquisition significantly increased the lifetime earnings of refugees. Refugees with language training became more likely to work in communication-intensive jobs and obtained additional education. The positive effects are transmitted to the next generation in terms of improved schooling outcomes for male children of refugees.

Xavier Devictor, Quy-Toan Do, Andrei Levchenko, 20 February 2021

It is usually observed that countries neighbouring a conflict area end up accommodating the largest numbers of refugees often for very long periods of time. Using data on worldwide bilateral refugee stocks from 1987-2017 compiled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this column examines the spatial distribution of refugees and its evolution over time. It finds that while most refugees still remain in a country neighbouring their country of origin, the past decades have seen a trend towards greater geographic diffusion.

Francesco Fasani, Jacopo Mazza, 25 January 2021

The spread of COVID-19 has had dire consequences for the earnings and employment of workers in Europe. As in most recessions, immigrants are among the most vulnerable workers. This column proposes a measure of employment risk based on workers’ job attributes which sidesteps the lack of an up-to-date European labour force survey, and estimates that the pandemic-induced recession puts 9 million immigrant workers at high risk of unemployment in Europe.

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