Risk aversion and the willingness to migrate in 30 transition countries

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Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of population economics
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00148-020-00777-3
Keywords Migration intentions; Risk aversion; Transition countries; Internal migration
Description This paper uses individual-level data covering 30 transition countries that account for over one-quarter of the worldwide immigrant stock to assess the impact of risk aversion on willingness to migrate. It extends the previous literature by allowing the effect of risk aversion to depend on the level of risk in the sending country. Consistent with theories of individual-level migration decisions, we find that risk aversion has a robust and statistically significant negative impact on willingness to migrate within countries as well as abroad. As predicted by theory, this impact is robustly less negative in riskier sending countries. Furthermore, this negative impact is significantly larger for willingness to migrate abroad than willingness to migrate internally. We also find that, even after controlling for an extensive set of control variables, willingness to migrate internally and abroad are highly correlated. This suggests that internal and international mobility decisions are closely linked.
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