Essays on international migration

Chowdhury, Mehdi Mahmud (2011) Essays on international migration. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

In recent time efforts are observed in re-evaluating the linkage between economic development and international migration. The thesis can be considered as an attempt to add something to those efforts. In this thesis we mainly analyse the effects of competition among the countries in international labour market and effects of migration on the research activities of firms. As appeared, these two issues so far have not received much attention of economic literature.

We analyse the above mentioned two issues in chapters 4, 5 and 6 of the thesis. Before conducting the main analysis of the thesis, we have explored available data and literature on international migration in chapter 2 and 3. The two chapters were designed to give a global overview of international migration. In chapter 2 we have discussed about international migration using available statistics obtained from secondary sources. The data shows a steady but relatively slow growth rate of world migration since the World War Two. It has however been observed that migration of educated people has increased in recent times. We also have observed that remittances as a percentage of GDP and export are very high in many countries which confirm the importance of remittances. The data also shows that proximity of a wealthy country is an important determinant of international migration destination.

In chapter 3 we have reviewed some issues of international migration. The discussion has covered the issues like the determinants of international migration, performance of migrants and consequences of migration in host country, ‘Brain Drain’ or ‘Brain Gain’, migration, remittances and economic development, initiatives of international bodies in international migration. Temporary migration has received special attention in the discussion. Many insights of the research conducted in the thesis have come directly from the reviews conducted in chapter 3.

Chapter 4 and 5 set up models where two countries are engaged in competition with each other in sending people aboard. The competition in international labour market is immensely important in many developing countries. Many countries are highly dependent on the remittances thus competing with other countries in sending people to work abroad. These competitions play an active role in intergovernmental negotiations as the countries require to balance between ‘promotion’ of overseas employment and ‘protection’ of migrants. Within economic literature we have not seen efforts to model this competition of labour exporting countries.

Chapter 4 has modelled a situation where two exporting countries send labour to a third country. This chapter assumes unskilled migration as such labour migration is entirely controlled by the respective governments. The governments want to send labour to get remittances in return thus engage in a Cournot-type competition with the other labour exporting country. The importing country on the other hand acts as a Stackelberg leader as it sets up its immigration tax policies by moving first. We have observed that the labour importer uses discriminatory tax policies for the different labour exporting countries to fulfil its national objective. The tax rate is higher for the country with higher labour endowment.

Chapter 5 has adopted a similar model as chapter 4. However the assumption of unskilled migration has been replaced by the assumption of skilled migration. It is thus assumed that migrants do not need governments’ assistance to migrate or governments are not in a position to control migration. Thus they use taxes to control migration and maximise national income. In this regard the exporting countries engage in Bertrand type competition with each other in setting emigration tax rate. We have found that skilled migrants should be taxed by the exporting countries to maximise national income. The importing country again resorts to the discriminatory tax policy as obtained in chapter 4. The tax rate is as before higher for the country with higher labour endowment

The analysis of chapter 6 can be linked with the recent literature of ‘Brain Drain’. We have assumed a model where two countries are engaged in strategic trade with each other. We have then analysed effects of labour market openness and migration on research and development of countries. It is assumed that the wage rates of one country is higher than the other country’s which gives the rationale for migration. With the opening up of labour market and threat of possible migration, wage rates of both skilled people who conduct research and unskilled people who conduct production fall. We have analysed mainly three cases – (1) only labour-importing country conducts R&D, (2) only labour exporting country conducts R&D and (3) both countries conduct R&D simultaneously. The analysis shows that the possibility of migration of only skilled people always increases R&D. It also increases welfare by reducing the price of output. However the migration of unskilled people may not always increase welfare.

We expect that the analysis done in the thesis will be able to provide some guidelines in migration policy making. Firstly we observe no strong coalition among the labour sending countries to manage and control international migration, though labour importing countries are to some extent managing migration jointly. This thesis along with any possible future work may provide guidance in joint management of international migration by the exporting countries. Secondly, many exporting countries are subsidising skilled migration by providing training and other supports. The thesis is suggesting that labour exporting countries should tax the skilled migrants. In this regard the issue of skilled migration may need re-evaluation. Thirdly, the thesis is pointing towards some possible gains from skilled migration through increased research and development. This position is to some extent at a par with the literature of ‘Brain Drain’ that pointed towards the beneficial effects of skilled migration.

In summary it appears that we have obtained some interesting results in the analysis done in the thesis. We hope that they will be proved useful in migration policies and will contribute in future progress of both developed and developing countries.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Dasgupta, I.
Kreickemeier, U.
Mukherjee, A.
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Economics
ID Code:2013
Deposited By:Dr Mehdi Mahmud Chowdhury
Deposited On:22 Sep 2011 14:46
Last Modified:22 Sep 2011 14:46

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