Migration

Date
Thu, Aug 25 2022, 8:30am - Fri, Aug 26 2022, 12:00pm PDT
Location
Lucas Conference Center, Room A
Landau Economics Building
579 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford
[In-person session]

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Organized by
  • 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

Aug 25

8:00 am - 8:30 am PDT

Registration Check-In & Breakfast

Aug 25

8:30 am - 9:10 am PDT

The Effect of Low-Skill Immigration on US Firms and Workers: Evidence from a Randomized Lottery

Presented by: Michael Clemens (Center for Global Development)
Aug 25

9:10 am - 9:40 am PDT

Break

Aug 25

9:40 am - 10:20 am PDT

Fertility Implications of Family-Based Regularizations

Presented by: Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes (University of California, Merced)
Aug 25

10:20 am - 10:50 am PDT

Break

Aug 25

10:50 am - 11:30 am PDT

Does Access to Citizenship Confer Socio-Economic Returns? Evidence from A Randomized Control Design

Presented by: Jens Hainmueller (Stanford University)
Aug 25

11:30 am - 12:10 pm PDT

Voted In, Standing Out: Public Response to Immigrants' Political Accession

Presented by: Guy Grossman (University of Pennsylvania)
Co-author(s): Stephanie Zonszein (University of Pennsylvania)

How do dominant-group natives react to immigrants’ political integration? We argue that ethnic minority immigrants winning political office makes natives feel threatened, triggering animosity. We test this dynamic across the 2010–2019 UK general elections, using hate crime police records, public opinion data, and text data from over 500,000 regional and local newspaper articles. While past work has not established a causal relationship between minorities’ political power gains and dominant group animosity, we identify natives’ hostile reactions with a regression discontinuity design that leverages close election results between minority-immigrant and dominant-group candidates. We find that minority-immigrant victories increase hate crimes by 68%, exclusionary attitudes by 66%, and negative media coverage of immigrant groups by 110%. Consistent with power threat and social identity theories, these findings demonstrate a strong and widespread negative reaction—encompassing a violence-prone fringe, the mass public and the media elites—against ethnic minority immigrants’ integration into majority settings.

Aug 25

12:10 pm - 1:10 pm PDT

Lunch

Aug 25

1:10 pm - 1:50 pm PDT

Abundance from Abroad: Migrant Income and Long-Run Economic Development

Presented by: Dean Yang (University of Michigan)
Co-author(s): Gaurav Khanna (University of California, San Diego)Emir Murathanoglu (University of Michigan)Caroline Theoharides (Amherst College)

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.

Aug 25

1:50 pm - 2:20 pm PDT

Break

Aug 25

2:20 pm - 2:35 pm PDT

Effects of Migrant Networks on Labor Market Integration, Local Firms and Employees

Presented by: Dennis Egger (University of California, Berkeley)
Co-author(s): Daniel Auer (University of Mannheim) and Johannes Kunz (Monash University)

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.

Aug 25

2:35 pm - 2:50 pm PDT

Ghettoized in Gold Mountain? Chinese Immigrant Segregation in 19th Century California

Presented by: Hannah Postel (Princeton University)

This paper studies the residential segregation of Chinese immigrants in late
19th-century California. Previous work suggests that Chinese immigrants lived in isolated ethnic enclaves in growing cities (“Chinatowns”). However, the existence of a large, segregated Chinatown in San Francisco was the exception, not the rule. The majority of Chinese immigrants in fact resided in small, relatively integrated townships across the state. The paper both contributes to debates about the role of culture in Asian American social outcomes and adds important context to the historical segregation literature.

Aug 25

2:50 pm - 3:05 pm PDT

Immigrants and Incarceration

Presented by: Santiago Perez (University of California, Davis)
Co-author(s): Ran Abramitzky (Stanford), Leah Boustan (Princeton), Elisa Jacome (Northwestern), and Juan David Torres (Stanford)
Aug 25

3:05 pm - 3:20 pm PDT

Immigration and Occupational Downgrading in Colombia

Presented by: Jeremy Lebow (Duke University)

Between 2015-2019, approximately 1.8 million Venezuelans fled an economic and political crisis into neighboring Colombia. Despite being well-educated on average, these migrants disproportionately entered occupations that tend to employ less educated Colombian natives. I study the effect of this migrant occupational downgrading on native economic outcomes using a model of labor demand with imperfect substitutability between migrants and natives. Identification relies on the quasi-exogenous timing of the migration and I use an instrument to account for endogenous sorting of migrants across locations. I find that migrant downgrading amplifies the negative wage effect of migration for natives without completed secondary schooling by 30%, and this increases to 80% after allowing for full capital adjustment in the long-term. At the same time, migrant downgrading has little consequence for the wages of more educated natives, who benefit from reduced competition but are harmed by reductions in aggregate productivity. The results highlight the benefits of policies to reduce migrant downgrading for wage equality and productivity, especially in the developing country setting.

Aug 25

3:20 pm - 3:50 pm PDT

Break

Aug 25

3:50 pm - 4:30 pm PDT

The Social Integration of International Migrants: Evidence from the Networks of Syrians in Germany

Presented by: Drew Johnston (Harvard University)
Co-author(s): Michael Bailey (Facebook, Inc), Martin Koenen (Harvard University), Theresa Kuchler (New York University), Dominic Russel (Harvard University), and Johannes Stroebel (New York University)

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.

Aug 25

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

Dinner (by invitation)

Friday, August 26, 2022

Aug 26

8:00 am - 8:30 am PDT

Registration Check-In & Breakfast

Aug 26

8:30 am - 9:10 am PDT

The Seeds of Ideology: Historical Immigration and Political Preferences in the United States

Presented by: Paola Giuliano (University of California, Los Angeles)
Aug 26

9:10 am - 9:40 am PDT

Break

Aug 26

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

Presented by: Giuseppe Ippedico (University of California, Davis)
Co-author(s): Jacopo Bassetto (University of Trento)

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.

Aug 26

9:50 am - 10:10 am PDT

Does Ice Chill? Immigration Enforcement, Crime, and Community Trust

Presented by: Elisa Jacome (Stanford University)
Aug 26

10:10 am - 10:40 am PDT

Break

Aug 26

10:40 am - 11:20 am PDT

Information, Intermediaries, and International Migration

Presented by: Simone Schaner (University of Southern California)
Co-author(s): Samuel Bazzi (University of California, San Diego), Lisa Cameron (University of Melbourne), and Firman Witoelar (Australian National University)

Job seekers face substantial information frictions, especially in international labor markets where intermediaries match prospective migrants with overseas employers. We conducted a randomized trial in Indonesia to explore how information about intermediary quality shapes migration outcomes. Holding access to information about the return to choosing a high-quality intermediary constant, intermediary-specific quality disclosure reduces the migration rate, cutting use of low-quality providers. Workers who do migrate receive better pre-departure preparation and have improved experiences abroad, despite no change in occupation or destination. These results are not driven by changes in beliefs about average provider quality or the return to migration. Nor does selection explain improved outcomes for those who migrate with quality disclosure. Together, our  findings are consistent with an increase in the option value of search: with better ability to differentiate offer quality, workers search longer, select higher-quality intermediaries, and ultimately have better migration experiences.

Aug 26

11:20 am - 12:00 pm PDT

Benefits and Costs of Guest Worker Programs: Evidence from the India-UAE Corridor

Presented by: Suresh Naidu (Columbia University)
Co-author(s): Yaw Nyarko (Nrew York University), and Shing-Yi Wang (University of Pennsylvania)

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

Aug 27

9:15 am - 9:15 am PDT

Optional Trip to Angel Island

Ferry departs San Francisco Ferry Terminal, Gate B at 9:15 am

Aug 27

10:00 am - 3:55 pm PDT

Tour of Angel Island Immigration Museum

Aug 27

4:10 pm - 4:10 pm PDT

Ferry Departs Angel Island at 4:10 pm

Aug 27

4:40 pm - 4:40 pm PDT

Ferry Arrives San Francisco at 4:40 pm