Migration and ethnicity
Mobility is important for the functioning of markets and society. Contributions to this subject area deal with issues of national and international mobility, such as demand and supply, and what migration means for natives and migrants and for sending and receiving countries.
Why restricting labor mobility can be counterproductiveKlaus F. Zimmermann, May 2014In the popular immigration narrative, migrants leave one country and establish themselves permanently in another, creating a “brain drain” in the sending country. In reality, migration is typically temporary: Workers migrate, find employment, and then return home or move on, often multiple times. Sending countries benefit from remittances while workers are abroad and from enhanced human capital when they return, while receiving countries fill labor shortages. Policies impeding circular migration can be costly to both sending and receiving countries.MoreLess
Do migrants take the jobs of native workers?
Migrants rarely take native workers’ jobs, and they boost employment effects in the long termAmelie F. Constant, May 2014Neither public opinion nor evidence-based research supports the claim of some politicians and the media that immigrants take the jobs of native-born workers. Public opinion polls in six migrant-destination countries after the 2008–2009 recession show that most people believe that immigrants fill job vacancies and many believe that they create jobs and do not take jobs from native workers. This view is corroborated by evidence-based research showing that immigrants—of all skill levels—do not significantly affect native employment in the short term and boost employment in the long term.MoreLess
Using a point system for selecting immigrants
A point system can select economically desirable immigrants but it cannot prevent poor labor outcomes for immigrantsMassimiliano Tani, May 2014Restricting immigration to young and skilled immigrants using a point system, as in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, succeeds in selecting economically desirable immigrants and provides orderly management of population growth. But the point system cannot fix short-term skilled labor shortages in a timely manner nor prevent poor labor market outcomes for immigrants, since domestic employers can undervalue schooling and work experience acquired abroad. Furthermore, the efficacy of a point system can be compromised if unscreened visa categories receive higher priority.MoreLess
The brain drain from developing countries
The brain drain produces many more losers than winners in developing countriesFrédéric Docquier, May 2014The proportion of foreign-born people in rich countries has tripled since 1960, and the emigration of high-skilled people from poor countries has accelerated. Many countries intensify their efforts to attract and retain foreign students, which increases the risk of brain drain in the sending countries. In poor countries, this transfer can change the skill structure of the labor force, cause labor shortages, and affect fiscal policy, but it can also generate remittances and other benefits from expatriates and returnees. Overall, it can be a boon or a curse for developing countries, depending on the country’s characteristics and policy objectives.MoreLess
Roma integration in European labor markets
Nuclei of evidence tell a grim story, but a veil of ignorance impedes policy effortsMartin Kahanec, May 2014The Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Europe—as well as one of the most disadvantaged. A triple vicious circle is at play: Substandard socio-economic outcomes reinforce each other; they fuel negative attitudes and perceptions, leading to ill-chosen policies; and segmentation is perpetuated through (statistical) discrimination. A severe lack of data precludes progress. However, existing bits of evidence point to virtuous ways out.MoreLess
Do immigrant workers depress the wages of native workers?
Short-term wage effects of immigrants are close to zero—and in the long term immigrants can boost productivity and wagesGiovanni Peri, May 2014Politicians, the media, and the public express concern that immigrants depress wages by competing with native workers, but 30 years of empirical research provide little supporting evidence to this claim. Most studies for industrialized countries have found no effect on wages, on average, and only modest effects on wage differentials between more and less educated immigrant and native workers. Native workers’ wages have been insulated by differences in skills, adjustments in local demand and technology, production expansion, and specialization of native workers as immigration rises.MoreLess
Superdiversity, social cohesion, and economic benefits
Superdiversity can result in real economic benefits—but it also raises concerns about social cohesionPaul Spoonley, May 2014Empirical studies have found that achieving superdiversity—a substantial increase in the scale and scope of minority ethnic and immigrant groups in a region—can provide certain economic benefits, such as higher levels of worker productivity and innovation. Superdiversity can also provide a boost to local demand for goods and services. Other studies have found that these benefits can be compromised by political and populist anxieties about ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity.MoreLess