NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Free vs. Controlled Migration: Bilateral Country Study

Assaf Razin, Jackline Wahba

NBER Working Paper No. 16831
Issued in February 2011
NBER Program(s):International Finance and Macroeconomics

This paper tests the differential effects of the generosity of the welfare state under free migration and under policy-controlled migration, distinguishing between source developing and developed countries. We utilize free-movement within the EU to examine the free migration regime and compare that to immigration into the EU from two other groups, developed and developing source countries, to capture immigration-restricted regimes. We standardize cross-country education quality differences by using the Hanushek-Woessmann (2009) cognitive skills measure. We find strong support for the "Magnet Hypothesis" under the free-migration regime, and the "Fiscal Burden Hypothesis" under the immigration- restricted regime even after controlling for differences in returns to skills in source and host countries. We also find a significant differences across host-country policy regimes in the effects of returns to skills on the skill mix of immigrants.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16831

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