La science économique au service de la société

Structure et détails des cours

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Migration is a major aspect of globalization and is increasingly at the center of the public and policy debate. This course aims to present frontier research on the economics of migration and to provide the tools to contribute to this field.


  • The challenge of identifying the microeconomic impacts of migration, David McKenzie
  • The relationship between migration, other dimensions of globalization, and development, Hillel Rapoport
  • Focus on the public finance and demographic effect of immigration for the host countries, Hippolyte d’Albis
  • The labor market effects of immigration and the barriers to immigrants’ assimilation, Biagio Speciale

Workshop : present your paper
Participants will have the opportunity to submit a paper to be presented within this programme. The submitted paper can be either a work of the participant or an article of other authors that the participant would like to present in class. Selected papers will be presented (in 30 minutes) in front of participants and faculty in daily one or two-hour slots reserved for such presentations.

Identifying the Development Impacts of Migration - David McKenzie

There has been an explosion in interest in the potential for migration to lift people out of poverty. The focus of much of this rhetoric has been on remittances, yet migration involves a lot more than money transfers. Moreover, identifying the impact of migration or remittances on households is hard since migrants self-select – so that households without migrants are likely quite different from those with migrants with which they are often compared. Estimating the microeconomic impacts of migration therefore requires thinking about who chooses to migrate, and how to estimate what would have happened had this person or household not migrated. The overall aim of this course is to address this challenge of identifying the microeconomic impacts of migration. 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.

The course aims to provide an overview and critical assessment of the different methods used in the literature to estimate the impact of migration on development outcomes. It will largely take a micro perspective, and consider both experimental and non-experimental methods for establishing causal relationships.


  • Why is identification an issue, and the impact of migration vs impact of remittance
  • Attempts to identify migration using matching, difference-in-differences and regression discontinuity
  • Identifying migration using instrumental variables
  • Identifying migration through lotteries and experiments

- Gibson, J., McKenzie, D. (2014). “The Development Impact of a Best Practice Seasonal Worker Policy”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 96(2), pp. 229-43.
- McKenzie, D., Gibson, J., Stillman, S. (2010). “How Important is Selection ? Experimental Vs Non-experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration”, Journal of the European Economic Association, 8(4), pp. 913-45.
- Yang, D. (2008). “International Migration, Remittances, and Household Investment : Evidence from Philippine Migrants’ Exchange Rate Shocks”, Economic Journal, 118, pp. 591-630.

On completion of this course unit successful students will be able to :
Be critical consumers of research papers in migration that aim to establish causal relationships

Know multiple potential methods of identifying the impacts of migration and the strengths and weaknesses of each

Understand what makes a good instrumental variable in a migration setting, and the problems associated with some commonly used candidates

Know when matched difference-in-differences might be plausible as a way of identifying migration impacts and when it will not

Think through the design of a randomized experiment on migration and be able to plan such an experiment themselves

Migration, Globalization and Development - Hillel Rapoport

International migration is a key aspect of globalization. While migrants represent about 3 percent of the world population, a relatively stable figure, immigrants now represent nearly 10 percent of the population of OECD countries, a twofold increase in just a couple of decades. Another interesting pattern of international migration is that it is increasingly of the so-called “brain drain” type, i.e., increasingly highly skilled migrants. These migration flows affect other dimensions of globalization such as trade, FDI and technology diffusion. They also affect institutions and development in low-income countries in a number of ways, including through diffusion of host-country institutions and socio-cultural norms (i.e., “social remittances”). These different dimensions of the migration, globalization and development relationship will be studied combining applied theory and empirical research from elected country case-studies and cross-country comparisons.


  • Introduction : Migration and globalization : what’s in it for developing countries ?
  • Migration and the other dimensions of globalization (trade, FDI and other financial flows, technology diffusion)
  • Migration, institutions and culture (the democratic dividend from emigration, migration and fertility, migration and cultural convergence)

- Barsbai, T., Rapoport, H., Steinmayr, A., Trebesch, C. (2017). “The impact of emigration on the diffusion of democracy : evidence from a former Soviet Republic”, American Economic Journal : Applied Economics, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 36-69.
- Docquier, F., Rapoport, H. (2012). « Globalization, brain drain, and development », Journal of Economic Literature, 50, pp. 681-730.
- Spilimbergo, A. (2009). “Foreign students and democracy”, American Economic Review, 99(1), pp. 528-543.

Migration, Ageing and the Macro economy - Hippolyte d’Albis

The objective of this theme is to study the demographic impacts of migration for host countries, and notably for developed countries with large aging population. The demographic impact of flows of immigrants will be analyzed on both the size of the population and its age structure. Then, the induced consequences on output and public finances will be studied. Both empirical findings and theoretical intuitions will be presented.

- d’Albis, H., Boubtane, E., Coulibaly, D. (2019). Immigration and Public Finances in OECD Countries. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 99, 116-151.
- Dustmann, C., Frattini, T. (2014). The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UK, Economic Journal, 124, F593-643.
- Murphy, M. (2016). “The Role of Migration on Long-term European Population Trends, 1850 to Present”, Population and Development Review, 42(2), pp. 225-244.

Immigrants in their Host Society : Barriers to immigrants’ assimilation - Biagio Speciale

A substantial part of the public debate about immigration in developed countries focuses on whether immigrants integrate in the local labor markets. In this part of the course, we will focus on barriers to immigrants’ assimilation. There are several factors that negatively affect the economic integration of immigrants in host countries. In particular we will focus on the analysis of language barriers and undocumented status. Knowledge of the host country’s language is an important determinant of immigrants’ labor market outcomes and occupational downgrading. For this reason, the governments of several destination countries provide language courses to newly arrived immigrants. We plan to present a brief overview of the literature on the evaluation of these integration plans. Undocumented status – residing in the destination country without a regular residence permit – is another important factor influencing negatively the economic integration of immigrants by reducing the set of available employment opportunities. A part of the course will be devoted to the review of the literature on the effects of immigrants’ legal status on labor market outcomes and economic behavior.


  • Language barriers (language skills & training and labor market outcomes)
  • Undocumented status (labor market outcomes, propensity to commit crime)

- Lochmann, A., Rapoport, H., Speciale, B. (2019). “The effect of language training on immigrants’ economic integration : empirical evidence from France”, European Economic Review, vol. 113, April 2019, Pages 265-296.
- Pinotti, P. (2017). “Clicking on heaven’s door : The effect of immigrant legalization on crime”, American Economic Review, vol. 107, no. 1, (pp. 138-68).
- Sarvimäki, M., Hämäläinen, K. (2016). “Integrating Immigrants : The Impact of Restructuring ALMP”, Journal of Labor Economics, 34(2), pp. 479-508.

Sommaire - Économie des migrations