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Abstract:

CEP discussion paper
Income and the desire to migrate
Monica Langella and Alan Manning
September 2021
Paper No' CEPDP1794:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: international migration; migration intentions; development

We analyse the role of household and country-level personal income in explaining both the desire to emigrate and the desired destination country. We use data from the Gallup World Poll and applications to the US Diversity Visa Program. We find that higher GDP per capita at destination is strongly associated with a higher desire to move to that country. We do not find strong support for the selection hypothesis that people want to move to countries with a higher return to their level of education. On emigration, we find that both personal income and aggregate income matter. In poorer countries richer people are more likely to want to emigrate, while the opposite is true in richer countries. In looking at the impact of origin country income on the desire to emigrate, we find little evidence for the upward part of Zelinsky's 'hump-shape' migration transition hypothesis.