Claas Schneiderheinze (Kiel Institute)
The hump-shaped relationship between economic development and emigration is a well-established phenomenon in academia and is gaining the interest of policy makers. With the peak located at rather high per capita incomes 6000 - 10000 USD (Clemens, 2014; Clemens and Postel, 2018), policy makers in OECD countries seem to be confronted with a trade-off between supporting economic development in poor countries and reducing immigration pressures. Yet, as the migration hump is merely based on cross-sectional evidence, inferring rising emigration rates along the economic trajectory of developing countries might be misleading. In this paper we use 35 years of migration flow data from 198 countries of origin to OECD destinations to systematically test for the existence of a migration hump -- both between and within countries. While we successfully reproduce the hump-shape in the cross-section of our sample, our fixed effects panel estimations focusing on the within variance over time robustly suggest decreasing emigration rates as incomes increase. This finding holds irrespective of the level of income a country starts out at and thus casts doubt on any causal interpretation of the migration hump.
David Benček (Kiel Institute; Monopolies Commission) — Claas Schneiderheinze (Kiel Institute)