Migration

Vasiliki Fouka, Soumyajit Mazumder, Marco Tabellini, 27 March 2020

From 1915 to 1930, 1.5 million African Americans moved from the southern US to northern urban centres. This column uses that shift as a historical case study, investigating how the appearance of a new migrant group affects the integration of previous generations of immigrants. It finds that the arrival of African Americans increased the effort exerted by Southern and Eastern Europeans to assimilate, but that Western and Northern Europeans, who were regarded as culturally closer to the native-born white population, had an easier time integrating. 

Kai Konrad, Ray Rees, 17 March 2020

Small EU states regularly sell 'golden passports' to high net worth individuals, and these citizens thus earn the right to live and work anywhere in the EU. By imagining member states as private clubs and the EU as a ‘meta-club’, this column presents a model of the effects of this activity. While selling golden passports may be seen as an informal transfer to poorer states, the number of citizenships granted will always be larger than is optimal for the EU as a whole.

Sebastian Heise, Tommaso Porzio, 29 February 2020

Thirty years after reunification, a stark and persistent wage gap between East Germany and West Germany remains. This column studies why East Germans do not migrate to the West to take advantage of the higher real wages there. Analysing data from more than 1 million establishments and almost 2 million individuals over 25 years, it suggests that moving people across space is difficult and costly. Reallocating workers to better jobs at their current location could be a more cost-effective avenue to increase aggregate wages, and even accelerate regional convergence.

Dany Bahar, Raj Choudhury, Hillel Rapoport, 28 February 2020

There is considerable historical and contemporary evidence of the linkages between skilled migration and innovation, suggesting that one of the most important engines of economic growth stands to be strongly negatively affected by the growing backlash against migration around the world. Based on a 95-country sample spanning several decades, this column shows that migrant inventors play an important role in shaping the patent production of their destination countries. Arguably, these dynamics – driven by migrant inventors – can also affect broader economic outcomes, given the secondary effects of patenting and innovation on productivity and firm performance.

Leah Boustan, 21 February 2020

A century ago, American nativists succeeded in establishing immigration quotas to drive up the wages of US workers. What happened next? Not what you might think, Leah Boustan tells Tim Phillips.

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