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Determinants and Effects of Migration

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (PDT)

Manchester Grand Hyatt, Balboa C
Hosted By: Middle East Economic Association
  • Chair: Rahel M. Schomaker, CUAS Villach/FOEV Speyer

How Immigration Can Raise Wages in Pakistan

Ayesha Mehtab
COMSATS University-Islamabad


Immigration may bring considerable benefits but it is not necessary that it always represent significant results. This may have an unfavorable effects on the host country. However as in the case of afghan immigrants who started to move in Pakistan in late 1970s during soviet war in Afghanistan. According to UNHCR (2017), still there are about 1.3 million registered afghan citizens in Pakistan. The purpose of this study is to examine that how an immigration in Pakistan can raise wages. The outcome of Afghan immigration shows that wages in Pakistan fell because employers can easily have found substitute among workers of same skill. Although an immigration of unskilled labor build up the demand of native workers with complementary skills. But this cross-price wage benefit found out to be very small. With this backdrop, we used a global Commutable general equilibrium model calibrated with latest Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) of Pakistan to study how immigration impact real wages. The results show that if producers in Pakistan will hire more skilled labor and capital to make the best use of unskilled afghan immigrants. This will boost up the demand and prices of skilled labor and capital as well. An increase in capital stock not only escalates the demand of both workers (skilled and unskilled) but also increase their wages.

The Impact of Syrian Refugees on Native Mortality in Turkey

Aysun Aygun
Istanbul Technical University
Murat Kirdar
Bogazici University
Berna Tuncay
Koç University


We examine the impact of the arrival of large numbers of Syrian refugees in Turkey on natives’ mortality, using provincial data on age-specific mortality rates for the 2009-2016 period. We use the provincial variation in the number of Syrian refugees for identification. We find that the infant mortality rate increases with the arrival of refugees; however, this results from the rise in the neonatal mortality rates only. No evidence of an effect of refugees on native mortality beyond the first month of life exists. We show that congestion at health facilities accounts for part but not all of this finding. The fact that no adverse effects on mortality beyond the neonatal period exists suggest that the spread of contagious diseases has not been an important factor.

Do French Migration Policies Affect Immigrants Inflows in the MENA Region?

Ines Trojette
ESPI Paris
Doslalo Millogo
University of Norbert-Zongo


Most of western European countries have been facing social discontent related to growing immigration. To date, this issue is the first concern of european citizens and has favored the rise of far-right political parties in France, Poland, Hungary, or Italy. However, immigration is not a new phenomenon. Since 2011, the Arab Spring spread across the Middle East and Noth Africa region and the "migrant crisis", especially following the arrival of Syrians fleeing the war, showed the difficulty of the EU countries to agree on this issue.
The present paper aims to assess the effects of french policies on immigration flows from MENA region. We consider OECD’s annual migration data between France and 17 MENA partners, from 1995 to 2014. For this purpose, we build three indexes (admission, integration and asylum policies) based on the changes in immigration laws in France from 1995 to 2014. Our sample records flows from 17 sending MENA countries to France. The indicators proposed cover three central dimensions of policies: admission, integration, and asylum. In addition, we assess the effects of specific factors like linguistic proximity and colonial relationship as well as demographic and geographic factors. The empirical model is based on those of Borjas (1987)and Roy (1951) where the dependent variable is approximated, for any country i, by the number of immigrants Mit from this country over its whole population Pit. Emigration is realized if the expected returns exceed the costs it generates. The empirical model covers, in addition to migration costs, other independent variables like GDP, unemployment, remittances, distance, life expectancy, colony (equals 1 if there are colonial ties between i and j, and 0 otherwise), language similarity. Language matters a lot in the decision to migrate. Knowledge of a language makes communication easier in the country of destination, and allow to reach rapidly other objectives. Among these objectives we count training, schooling, and getting a job on the labor market. Using a Common correlated error and GMM estimators, results reveal that policies did not reduce gross immigration flows, but modified their structural composition. Whereas we found colonial relationship and linguistic similarities are positively correlated with inflows from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. They represent 40% total of foreign population in the top 20. When considering a large range of covariates and controlling for multilateral resistance, the results are still valid and suggest that government does not reach a reduction of inflows if targeted. The family immigration flows were stabilized while free movement, and more particularly student admissions increased. Asylum demands are growing essentially due to armed conflicts in the Middle East. Humanitarian immigration imposes in some unexpected situations exceptional decisions. As a matter of fact Germany received more than one million refugees in 2015. The political economics of immigration teach that the ideal policy is free movement without any barrier. But the political implications in term of labour market distortions does not allow open borders in rich countries.

Comparing Middle Eastern Migration to Europe, Latin America, and North America

Hisham Foad
San Diego State University


This paper examines the similarities and differences in experiences of Middle Eastern migrants to several countries in Europe, Latin America, and North America. In particular, I gather census data from Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United States to explore migrant experiences across a wide range of dimensions. These include economic integration (as measured by education, employment, and income), geographic mobility (measured by clustering in ethnic enclaves), and cultural assimilation (measured by local language proficiency and intermarriage). I find that the experiences of migrants from the Middle East to these destinatins are quite varied. The degrees of cultural and economic integration depend not only on the destination country, but also the era at which people migrated. Migrants to Latin America generally arrived much earlier than those to other destinations and have experienced the highest levels of cultural and economic assimilation. Those to Canada and the United States have had varied experiences, with earlier migration cohorts tending to have higher levels of education and income than more recent arrivals. This has less to do with migrant tenure and more with the motivation for migration (more economic migrants in earlier cohorts vs. political migrants/refugee in more recent cohorts). Migrants to Europe have tended to have the lowest levels of economic integration, partially driven by the types of migrants (less educated, more often temporary migration), but also due to very low levels of cultural assimilation. The results of this study are informative not only for understanding the wider Middle Eastern diaspora, but also to identify what kinds of policies could be most effective at dealing with the large increase in migration from the Middle East that has been occurring over the past decade plus.
JEL Classifications
  • F6 - Economic Impacts of Globalization