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Edited by Carlos Vargas-Silva
Chapter 8: Empirical Methods in the Economics of International Immigration
8 Empirical methods in the economics of international immigration Fernando A. Lozano and Michael D. Steinberger* The United Nations reports that in 2010 more than 213 million people, or 5 percent of the world population, lived in a county in which they were not born. Not only is the stock of worldwide international immigrants significant in its own right, the net flow of immigrants has gradually increased over the last 20 years. During the decade of the 1990s, more than 23 million people moved to a different country; during the next decade this figure grew to 35 million people. As international migration increasingly prevails across different regions and countries it is natural to ask how do economists address the causes and consequences of these flows, and what are the strengths and shortcomings of the methodologies employed by economists? The economics of immigration is a burgeoning field whose interest and research expands over many facets of immigration. The evolution of economists’ interest on immigration is evidenced by the fact that general interest journals are increasingly publishing papers on this topic. Table 8.1 presents descriptive statistics about the recent research in nine top economic journals covering an immigration topic in the last 20 years. Among the issues economists address: (1) Why do people migrate to a different country, and who chooses to migrate? (2) What explains the labor market success of immigrants in the host country and their economic assimilation? (3) What is the effect of immigrants in the host economy, especially...
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