International Migration and Economic Integration
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International Migration and Economic Integration

Understanding the Immigrant–Trade Link

Roger White and Bedassa Tadesse

This essential volume examines the influence of immigrants on the process of international economic integration – specifically, their influences on bilateral and multilateral trade flows. It extends beyond the identification and explanation of the immigrant–trade link and offers a more expansive treatment of the subject matter, making it the most comprehensive volume of its kind. The authors present abundant evidence that confirms the positive influences of immigrants on trade between their home and host countries; however the immigrant–trade link may not be universal. The operability of the link is found to depend on a variety of factors related to immigrants’ home countries, their host countries, the types of goods and services being traded and the anthropogenic characteristics of the immigrants themselves.
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Chapter 4: East–West Migration and Trade: The Pro-Trade Effects of Immigrants in Italy

Roger White and Bedassa Tadesse


The end of the Cold War led to a considerable increase in migration from Eastern Europe to Western Europe. The political changes that followed the Cold War included the removal or weakening of many restrictions that for decades had severely limited East–West migration. As a result, in recent years, many European countries have experienced large increases in the number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and associated satellite countries. Expected enlargement of the European Union (EU) will further reduce migration barriers; thus, it is expected that additional migration will occur. As a result, East–West migration has emerged as an important political and economic issue. However, fears of domestic social service depletion, adverse local labor market effects, reluctance of immigrants to assimilate to the culture of their host countries and, in some instances, even worries over possible terrorist attacks, have generated calls for more restrictive immigration policies. In this chapter, we build on our analysis of Australia’s immigrant– trade link by employing data that represent Italy’s trade with 68 countries during the 1996–2001 period that are categorized as former Soviet republics (FSR), post-communist (PCOM) countries and non-FSR and non-PCOM countries. More specifically, placing particular emphasis on potential variation in immigrants’ pro-trade influences across home countries that are classified as either FSR or PCOM countries, we consider whether the effects of differences/changes in immigration policies affect the abilities of immigrants to influence trade flows across their host and home country cohorts. As noted in our introductory chapter, immigrants...

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