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Unilateral Facilitation Does Not Raise International Labor Migration from the Philippines

Emily Beam, David McKenzie, Dean Yang

NBER Working Paper No. 20759
Issued in December 2014
NBER Program(s):Development Economics

Significant income gains from migrating from poorer to richer countries have motivated unilateral (source-country) policies facilitating labor emigration. However, their effectiveness is unknown. We conducted a large-scale randomized experiment in the Philippines testing the impact of unilaterally facilitating international labor migration. Our most intensive treatment doubled the rate of job offers but had no identifiable effect on international labor migration. Even the highest overseas job-search rate we induced (22%) falls far short of the share initially expressing interest in migrating (34%). We conclude that unilateral migration facilitation will at most induce a trickle, not a flood, of additional emigration.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20759

Published: Emily A. Beam & David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2016. "Unilateral Facilitation Does Not Raise International Labor Migration from the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(2), pages 323 - 368. citation courtesy of

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