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Essays on the economics of temporary migration behaviour

Görlach, JS; (2017) Essays on the economics of temporary migration behaviour. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

In this thesis, I use dynamic models of international migration to develop a better understanding both of the determinants of migrants’ return and re-migration decisions, and of the implications for econometric analyses of immigrants’ economic outcomes. Chapter two analyses the effect of higher origin income levels on migration duration and the incidence of repeat migration. To evaluate this effect, a dynamic life cycle model of consumption and migration is formulated, where households may borrow within income dependent limits to buffer economic shocks or to finance a migration. Results show that higher income levels in Mexico reduce migration duration but increase both the average number of trips per migrant and the amount of repatriated income earned abroad. Chapter three focuses on the host country and argues that expected migration temporariness can impart a distinct dynamic element to immigrants’ economic behaviour, with possible consequences for non–migrants in both home and host countries. The chapter proposes a general framework for modelling return migration decisions, based on which the various motives for temporariness discussed in the literature are outlined. Chapter four investigates the econometric assumptions underlying the literature estimating immigrant earnings profiles, most of which assumes that wage growth is unaffected by migration duration. Challenges arise if the out-migration of immigrants from a host country responds to time-varying earnings determinants, in which case a consistent estimation of career profiles requires modelling the out-migration process. Chapter five takes up this argument and assesses the implications of anticipated migration duration for immigrants’ human capital investment and for estimations of immigrant earnings profiles. The analysis uses panel data that provide repeated information on immigrants’ return intentions to estimate a lifecycle model of consumption, human capital investment and return migration. The analysis shows that policies that influence migrants’ return decisions may lead to suboptimal career profiles.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Essays on the economics of temporary migration behaviour
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1549644
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