Landau Economics Building
579 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford
- Ran Abramitzky, Stanford University
- Elisa Jacome, Northwestern University
- Melanie Morten, Stanford University
- Santiago Perez, University of California, Davis
Migration is one of the key issues in both the U.S. and the globe. Economists study migration from several perspectives: history, labor, trade, and development. Yet, too often researchers across fields do not present work in the same forum. This SITE session will start this conversation and bring together economists who study questions of migration from different perspectives to stimulate cross-field conversation and share insights and research findings.
In This Session
Thursday, August 25, 2022
8:00 am - 8:30 am PDT
Registration Check-In • Breakfast
8:30 am - 9:10 am PDT
The Effect of Low-Skill Immigration on US Firms and Workers: Evidence from a Randomized Lottery
9:10 am - 9:40 am PDT
9:40 am - 10:20 am PDT
Fertility Implications of Family-Based Regularizations
10:20 am - 10:50 am PDT
10:50 am - 11:30 am PDT
Does Access to Citizenship Confer Socio-Economic Returns? Evidence from A Randomized Control Design
11:30 am - 12:10 pm PDT
Voted In, Standing Out: Public Response to Immigrants' Political Accession
What is the reaction of the host society to immigrants’ political integration? We argue that when they win political office, immigrants pose a threat to natives’ dominant position, triggering hostility from a violent-prone fringe, the mass public and the elites. We test these dynamics across UK general elections, using hate crime police records, public opinion data, and text data from over 500,000 newspaper articles. We identify the public’s reactions with a regression discontinuity design of close elections between minority-immigrant and dominant group candidates. Our findings suggest a public backlash against ethnic minority immigrants’ integration into majority settings.
12:10 pm - 1:10 pm PDT
1:10 pm - 1:50 pm PDT
Abundance from Abroad: Migrant Income and Long-Run Economic Development
How does income from international migrant labor affect the long-run development of migrant-origin areas? We leverage the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis to identify exogenous changes in international migrant income across regions of the Philippines, derived from spatial variation in exposure to exchange rate shocks. The initial shock to migrant income is magnified in the long run, leading to substantial increases in income in the domestic economy in migrant-origin areas; increases in population education; better-educated migrants; and increased migration in high-skilled jobs. Four-fifths of long run income gains are actually from domestic (rather than international migrant) income. A simple structural model yields insights on mechanisms and magnitudes, in particular that one-fifth of long-run income gains are due to increased educational investments in origin areas. Increased income from international labor migration not only benefits migrants themselves, but also fosters long-run economic development in migrant-origin areas.
1:50 pm - 2:20 pm PDT
2:20 pm - 2:35 pm PDT
Effects of Migrant Networks on Labor Market Integration, Local Firms and Employees
We study the effects of migrant networks on the labor market integration of refugees, the performance of local rms, and the wages of their employees in Switzerland. To track outcomes of individuals and rms, we link six employer-employee matched administrative datasets covering the universe of residents (citizens, migrants, and refugees) and registered firms from 2008 to 2017. Leveraging the quasi-random placement of refugees across locations and a novel IV strategy, we show that larger local networks persistently increase employment and income of refugees. Network effects are large, accounting for 23% of the variation in incomes within nationality cohorts across cantons. In line with homophily, demographically similar networks and economically successful peers have larger positive impacts. Network effects are shaped by direct personal contacts: refugees who quasi-randomly lived in the same residential center are three times more likely to become co-workers at the same rm. Using a shift-share IV design, we then show that rms experiencing a positive shock to their employee's network hire both more migrants and natives. Their wage bill and the average wages of existing employees grow, and high-skilled natives rise within the firm hierarchy. This is consistent with referrals improving rm-worker match quality and productivity. Concerns about adverse economic impacts of spatially concentrated immigration are not borne out in the data, suggesting that existing migration policies in Switzerland and other high-income countries may need to be reconsidered.
2:35 pm - 2:50 pm PDT
2:50 pm - 3:05 pm PDT
Immigrants and Incarceration
3:05 pm - 3:20 pm PDT
Immigration and Occupational Downgrading in Colombia
I study the effect of migrant occupational downgrading on native economic outcomes in the context of Venezuelan mass migration to Colombia. I develop a model of labor demand with imperfect substitutability between migrants and natives that incorporates migrant occupational downgrading. I estimate the model using variation in migration rates across 79 metropolitan areas, exploiting the quasi-exogenous timing of the migration and using an instrument to account for the endogenous sorting of migrants across locations. I use the model to calculate the total effect of migration on native wages within education groups over this period, both under the observed downgrading and under a \no downgrading" counterfactual in which I reallocate migrants to compete within their own education group. I find that, absent migrant occupational downgrading, the hourly wages of less educated natives increase substantially in both the short- and long-term, while those of more educated natives are largely unchanged. The increase in competition faced by more educated natives under the counterfactual is mitigated by relatively lower migrant-native substitutability in high-skill occupations and counteracted by increases in total productivity that bene t all workers. The results highlight the bene ts of policies to reduce migrant downgrading for wage equality and productivity. This is especially true in the developing country setting, where the model indicates that the consequences of downgrading may be particularly severe, and where the majority of the world's forced displacement occurs.
3:20 pm - 3:50 pm PDT
3:50 pm - 4:30 pm PDT
The Social Integration of International Migrants: Evidence from the Networks of Syrians in Germany
We use de-identified data from Facebook to study the social integration of Syrian migrants in Germany, a country that received a large influx of refugees during the Syrian Civil War. We construct measures of migrants’ social integration based on Syrians’ friendship links to Germans, their use of the German language, and their participation in local social groups. We find large variation in Syrians’ social integration across German counties, and use a movers’ research design to document that these differences are largely due to causal effects of place. Regional differences in the social integration of Syrians are shaped both by the rate at which German natives befriend other locals in general (general friendliness) and the relative rate at which they befriend local Syrian migrants versus German natives (relative friending). We follow the friending behavior of Germans that move across locations to show that both general friendliness and relative friending are more strongly affected by place-based effects such as local institutions than by persistent individual characteristics of natives (e.g., attitudes toward neighbors or migrants). Relative friending is higher in areas with lower unemployment and more completed government-sponsored integration courses. Using variation in teacher availability as an instrument, we find that integration courses had a substantial causal effect on the social integration of Syrian migrants. We also use fluctuations in the presence of Syrian migrants across high school cohorts to show that natives with quasi-random exposure to Syrians in school are more likely to befriend other Syrian migrants in other settings, suggesting that contact between groups can shape subsequent attitudes towards migrants.
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT
Friday, August 26, 2022
8:00 am - 8:30 am PDT
8:30 am - 9:10 am PDT
The Seeds of Ideology: Historical Immigration and Political Preferences in the United States
9:10 am - 9:40 am PDT
9:40 am - 9:55 am PDT
Can Tax Incentives Bring Brains Back? The Effects of Returnees’ Tax Schemes on High-Skilled Migration in Italy
Brain drain is an increasingly relevant concern for many countries experiencing large emigration rates of young and skilled individuals. In response, governments have designed fiscal incentives to attract high-skilled expatriates and foreigners. Yet, empirical evidence on the effectiveness of tax incentives in attracting high-skilled migrants is limited. In this paper we focus on the Italian 2010 tax scheme, which granted a generous income tax reduction to high-skilled expatriates in a context of increasing brain drain. Eligibility for the scheme required a college degree as well as being born after January 1st, 1969, which creates suitable quasi-experimental conditions to identify the effect of tax incentives. Using a Diff-in-Diff strategy and administrative data on return migration, we show that eligible individuals are 50-60% more likely to return post-reform. Additionally, using social security data from the main origin country of returnees (Germany), we find homogeneous effects across the wage distribution, suggesting that mobility responses to tax incentives may be a broader phenomenon not limited to top earners.
9:50 am - 10:10 am PDT
Does ICE Chill? Immigration Enforcement, Crime, and Community Trust
10:10 am - 10:40 am PDT
10:40 am - 11:20 am PDT
Information, Intermediaries, and International Migration
Job seekers often face substantial information frictions related to the quality of job offers. This is especially true in international labor markets, where intermediaries match prospective migrants with employers abroad. We conducted a randomized trial in Indonesia to explore how information about intermediary quality shapes migration choices and outcomes. Conditional on access to general information about the return to choosing a high-quality migration provider, intermediary-specific quality disclosure reduces the migration rate, cutting use of low-quality migration providers. Alongside, workers who migrate receive better pre-departure preparation and have higher-quality job experiences abroad, despite no change in occupation or destination. Intermediary-specific information does not change intentions to migrate or beliefs about intermediary quality or the return to migration. Nor does selection explain the improved outcomes for workers who choose to migrate with quality disclosure. Together, our findings are consistent with an increase in the option value of search: with better ability to differentiate over quality, workers become choosier and ultimately have better migration experiences. This offers a new perspective on the importance of information and matching frictions in global labor markets.
11:20 am - 12:00 pm PDT
Benefits and Costs of Guest Worker Programs: Evidence from the India-UAE corridor
We estimate the comprehensive returns to guest worker programs using a large scale (N > 2500) randomized control trial implemented in the India-UAE migration corridor. Working with UAE construction companies, we randomized offers to potential migrant workers at recruitment sites, and measured effects on labor market outcomes, wellbeing, social relationships, and work satisfaction, as well as broker fees and formal and informal debt. We find that workers that receive the randomized offer experience 50% higher earnings, but also increase payments to brokers and a temporary increase in debt. Treated workers also experience a fall in well-being, but this not appear to be driven by changes in friendship patterns. Aggregating the margins of response using a model, we find that net returns to guest worker programs remain large, but are significantly smaller than the earnings effects alone.
Saturday, August 27, 2022
9:15 am - 9:15 am PDT
Optional Trip to Angel Island
Ferry departs San Francisco Ferry Terminal, Gate B at 9:15 am
10:00 am - 3:55 pm PDT
Tour of Angel Island Immigration Museum
4:10 pm - 4:10 pm PDT
Ferry Departs Angel Island at 4:10 pm
4:40 pm - 4:40 pm PDT