Economics serving society

Program content

PNG - 639.6 kb

This course aims to present frontier research on the economics of migration and to provide the tools to contribute to this field.


  • Migration and Climate Change, Katrin Millock and Giovanni Peri (6 hours) – Joint with the Climate Change program
  • Macroeconomic effects of migration for host countries, Hippolyte d’Albis (4.5 hours)
  • Migration, Globalization and Development: Political Economy and Cultural Economics, Hillel Rapoport (4.5 hours)
  • Identifying the Development Impacts of Migration, Toman Barsbai (6 hours)
  • Immigration, Labor Markets, Productivity, Entrepreneurship and Firms, Giovanni Peri (3 hours)
  • Immigrants in their host society: ethnic diversity effects and the contact hypothesis, Camille Hémet (3 hours)

Workshop : present your paper
Participants will have the opportunity to submit a paper to be presented within this program. The submitted paper should be a work produced by the participant (e.g. Master’s dissertation, policy work or research paper for PhD students). Selected pieces will be presented (in 30 minutes) in front of participants and faculty over three slots of 1.5 hours each.

Plenary talk

Esther Duflo, Professor at the MIT and visitor at the PSE for the year 2020-2021, will give a plenary lecture on “Development strategies for the post COVID era”, on site and online, Thursday the 17th of June, from 6 pm to 7 pm.

Migration and Climate Change – Katrin Millock and Giovanni Peri

Joint with the Climate Change Program

This course, which is joint with the Climate Change program, aims at understanding the economic impacts of climate change, with a focus on one particular form of adaptation to climate change: migration.
The course will focus on the measures of climate change and weather variations and the main econometric methods that are used to capture their influence on migration. We will study theoretical models that depart from standard models of migration decisions by including temperature shocks as a parameter. The spectrum of models covered will include the random utility model and its empirical counterpart (the gravity model), and general equilibrium models. We will also review the literature on empirical estimates: what do the empirical studies predict? We will discuss the recent approaches to better model the mechanisms underlying this specific form of adaptation, and the relation of migration to other adaptation strategies.
The course thus intends to give participants a thorough understanding of the methods used, their assumptions, and challenges.


  • How do we measure climate change impacts using weather data? A review of empirical methods to estimate the influence of climate change on migration - Katrin Millock, 1.5 hours
  • Analyzing the effects of climate change on migration: theory and empirical identification. Focus on international migration (across countries) and internal rural-urban migration – Giovanni Peri, 3 hours
  • Who are the climate migrants and why do they migrate? Modelling of forced migration, underlying mechanisms, and in situ adaptation choices – Katrin Millock, 1.5 hours

Selected References
- Beine M., Parsons, C. (2015), “Climatic factors as determinants of international migration.” The Scandinavian Journal of Economics 117(2): 723-767.
- Bohra-Mishra P, Oppenheimer, M., Hsiang, S. (2014), “Nonlinear permanent migration response to climatic variations but minimal response to disasters.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 9780-9785.
- Cattaneo, C., Beine, M., Fröhlich, C., Kniveton, D., Martinez-Zarzoso, I., Mastrorillo, M., Millock, K., Piguet, E., Schraven, B. (2019). “Human Migration in an Era of Climate Change.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 13(2): 189-206.
- Cattaneo, C., Peri, G. (2016) “The migration response to increasing temperatures.” Journal of Development Economics 122(C): 127-146.
- Hornbeck, R. (2020), “Dust Bowl Migrants: Identifying an Archetype.” NBER Working Papers 27656.
- Millock, K. (2015), “Migration and Environment.” Annual Review of Resource Economics 7.
- Peri, G., Sasahara, A., (2019). “The Impact of Global Warming on Rural-Urban Migrations: Evidence from Global Big Data.” NBER Working Papers 25728.
- Peri, G., Rury, D., Wiltshire, J.C., (2020). “The Economic Impact of Migrants from Hurricane Maria.” IZA Discussion Papers 13049, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
- de Sherbinin, A., (2020). “Impacts of Climate Change as Drivers of Migration”. Migration Policy Institute Feature.

Macroeconomic effects of migration for host countries - Hippolyte d’Albis

The objective of this theme is to study the macroeconomic impacts of migration for host countries, and most notably for rich countries with aging population. The effects of flows of immigrants will be first analysed on the age structure of the population and the labour market. Then, the induced consequences on output, public finances and inequalities will be analysed. Both theoretical intuitions (based on standard neoclassical models extended to account for migration) and empirical findings (based on VAR estimates) will be presented.

Selected References
- d’Albis, H., Boubtane, E., Coulibaly, D. (2018). Macroeconomic Evidence Suggests that Asylum Seekers are not a “Burden” for Western European Countries, Science Advances Vol. 4, no. 6, eaaq0883
- d’Albis, H., Boubtane, E., Coulibaly, D. (2019). Immigration and Public Finances in OECD Countries. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 99, 116-151.
- d’Albis, H., Boubtane, E., Coulibaly, D. (2021). Demographic Changes and the Labor Income Share. European Economic Review 131, 103614
- Borjas, J. (2020). Immigration and Economic Growth, in Prospects for Economic Growth in the United States, edited by John W. Diamond and George R. Zodrow, Cambridge University Press.
- Dustmann, C., Frattini, T. (2014). The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UK. Economic Journal 124, F593-643.
- Vella, E., Caballé, J., Llull, J. (2020) Understanding Migration with Macroeconomics. Palgrave Macmillan

Migration, Globalization and Development: Political Economy and Cultural Economics - Hillel Rapoport

How does migration affect the political and cultural evolution of countries? This short course will address the following questions: how does emigration affects the political evolution of sending countries? And: Does migration make sending and receiving countries culturally more similar or more dissimilar (cultural convergence/divergence). To answer the first question we will rely on two emigration historical episodes, one characterized by strong political self-selection (Hirschman’s “exit”) and one by social remittances. To answer the second question we use a theoretical model of cultural transmission with migration allowing to disentangle various candidate mechanisms and test the predictions of that model on cross-country bilateral data.


  • Emigration and Political Change
  • Migration and Cultural Integration

Selected References
Participants must prepare for the class by reading the required articles (denoted by **).

Part 1: Emigration and Political Change
- **Barsbai, Toman, Hillel Rapoport, Andreas Steinmayr and Christoph Trebesch (2017): The effect of labor migration on the diffusion of democracy: evidence from a former Soviet Republic, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, July.
- Batista, C., and P. Vicente (2011). Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment. World Bank Economic Review, 25(1), 77-104.
- Bazzi, S., Fiszbein, M., & Gebresilasse, M. (2020). Frontier culture: The roots and persistence of “rugged individualism” in the United States. Econometrica.
- Chauvet, L., and M. Mercier (2014). Migration and Elections in Mali. Does Migration Promote Democratization in Africa?, Journal of Comparative Economics.
- Clingingsmith, D., A. Khwaja, and M. Kremer (2009). Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering, Quarterly Journal of Economics.
- Docquier, F., E. Lodigiani, H. Rapoport, and M. Schiff (2016). Emigration and Democracy, Journal of Development Economics.
- Spilimbergo, A. (2009): Foreign students and democracy, American Economic Review.

Part 2: Migration and cultural integration
- **Rapoport, H., A. Silve and S. Sardoschau (2020): Migration and cultural change, CESifo Working Paper No 8547, September 2020. See
- Beine, M., F. Docquier, and M. Schiff (2013). International Migration, Transfer of Norms and Home Country Fertility, Canadian Journal of Economics.
- Abramitzky, R., Boustan, L. P., & Eriksson, K. (2014). A nation of immigrants: Assimilation and economic outcomes in the age of mass migration. Journal of Political Economy, 122(3).
- Alesina, A. & Giuliano, P. (2015). Culture and institutions. Journal of Economic Literature, 53(4), 898–944.
- Daudin, Guillaume, Raphael Franck and Hillel Rapoport (2019): Can intenal migration foster the convergence in regional fertility rates? Evidence from 19th century France. Economic Journal.

Identifying the Development Impacts of Migration - Toman Barsbai

How do we measure the development impacts of migration? Identifying such impacts is hard because migrants self-select and because migration is a complex treatment that bundles changes in the household composition, remittances, flow of new information and knowledge, and access to migrant networks. In the first part, we will discuss the various channels through which migration has a measurable impact on the migrant household, the key obstacles to being able to attribute effects to migration itself, and different empirical methods that can be used to identify the impacts of migration. In the second part, we will focus on recent experimental approaches and explore the development impact of pre-departure interventions aiming to educate migrants.


  • Why is identification an issue and what makes it so challenging to establish causal relationships in the case of migration? Which empirical strategies does the migration literature use to address these challenges?
  • Experimental approaches with a focus on the impact of pre-departure interventions

Selected References
- Barsbai, T., V. Licuanan, A. Steinmayr, E. Tiongson, D. Yang (2020). Information and the Acquisition of Social Network Connections. NBER Working Paper 27346.
- Barsbai, T., V. Bartos, V. Licuanan, A. Steinmayr, E. Tiongson, D. Yang (2020). The Importance of First Impressions: Reducing Mistreatment of Migrant Domestic Workers. Mimeo.
- McKenzie, D., J. Gibson, S. Stillman (2010). How Important is Selection? Experimental Vs Non-experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration. Journal of the European Economic Association, 8(4): 913-45.
- Yang, D. (2008): International Migration, Remittances, and Household Investment: Evidence from Philippine Migrants’ Exchange Rate Shocks. Economic Journal, 118: 591-630.

Immigration, Labor Markets, Productivity, Entrepreneurship and Firms - Giovanni Peri

The aim of this class will be to understand the consequences of immigrants on the labor market of the host country. Immigrants can act as substitute or complement to natives, which may affect labor supply and wages in different ways. In addition, by bringing new or complementary skills to the host labor market, immigrants may influence firm productivity. Overall, immigrants are likely to have large and sizable effects on the structure and the functioning of firms and the labor market more generally in the host country. We will investigate these questions both theoretically and empirically, paying particular attention to the methodological challenges raised by these questions.


  • Basic model of labor market effect of immigrants: Labor markets and skills.
  • Panel evidence, using shift-share analysis. The shift-share method.
  • Impact on productivity and firms: empirical analysis and results
  • Role of Task specialization, Human capital and firm-worker sorting.

Selected References
- David Jaeger & Joakim Ruist & Jan Stuhler, 2018. “Shift- Share Instruments and the Impact of Immigration,” CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1802, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
- Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & Isaac Sorkin & Henry Swift, 2020. “Bartik Instruments: What, When, Why, and How,” American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(8), pages 2586-2624, August.
- Andreas Beerli & Jan Ruffner & Michael Siegenthaler & Giovanni Peri, 2018. “The Abolition of Immigration Restrictions and the Performance of Firms and Workers: Evidence from Switzerland,” NBER Working Papers 25302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Massimo Anelli & Gætano Basso & Giuseppe Ippedico & Giovanni Peri, 2020. “Does Emigration Drain Entrepreneurs?,” CESifo Working Paper Series 8388, CESifo.
- Gianluca Orefice & Giovanni Peri, 2020. “Immigration and Worker-Firm Matching,” NBER Working Papers 26860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Immigrants in their host society: ethnic diversity effects and the contact hypothesis - Camille Hémet

Western economies are facing intensified flows of immigration and consequently must manage increasingly diverse populations. Diversity can have large positive effects but can also lead to animosity between groups including prejudice and discrimination. Social scientists have long hypothesized that one way to improve intergroup relations is to increase contact between diverse groups. This course aims at understanding what are the conditions under which this so called “contact hypothesis” is likely to be satisfied. We will first review the strand of the literature focusing on the social and economic effects of local diversity, paying particular attention to the identification strategies developed to measure unbiased causal effects. We will then take a closer look at the contextual elements and characteristics under which contact with diversity yields positive outcomes (e.g. reduction in prejudice by the majority). At the end of the class, we will try to define avenues for future research that we think are necessary to translate current knowledge into actionable policy.


  • Measuring the effects of diversity on social and economics outcomes at the local level, with a focus on the empirical challenges and proposed solutions
  • Assessing the “contact hypothesis” and figuring out the conditions for its validation

Selected References
- Algan, Y., Hémet, C., & Laitin, D. D. (2016). The social effects of ethnic diversity at the local level: A natural experiment with exogenous residential allocation. Journal of Political Economy, 124(3), 696-733.
- Carrell, S., Hoekstra, M. & West, J. (2019). The Impact of College Diversity on Behavior toward Minorities. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 11(4): 159–182
- Corno, L., La Ferrara, E. & Burns, J. (2019). Interaction, stereotypes and performance. Evidence from South Africa, IFS Working Papers W19/03, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Hémet, C., & Malgouyres, C. (2018). Diversity and Employment Prospects Neighbors Matter!. Journal of Human Resources, 53(3), 825-858.
- Merlino, L. P., Steinhardt, M. F., & Wren-Lewis, L. (2019). More than just friends? School peers and adult interracial relationships. Journal of Labor Economics, 37(3), 663-713.
- Steinmayr (2019). Contact matters: Exposure to refugees and voting for the far rights. Mimeo.

Contents - Migration Economics