Economic Progress and Emigration : Micro, Macro, and Experimental Evidence from Developing Countries

Jointly, this dissertation’s papers provide two highly policy-relevant insights. First, using three very different empirical approaches, my papers indicate that improving local economic opportunities discourage emigration. Hence, effective development policies can actually mitigate migration pressures. That contrasts several cross-country studies and questions the policy relevance of the migration hump. Still, other slow-moving development correlates such as educational advancement, demographic change, and structural economic transformation can increase future migration from developing countries. Second, chapter 2 and chapter 3 demonstrate that simple narratives, like the migration hump, are generally misleading because they oversimplify the complex individual and context-specific migration decision-making processes. So far, the primary focus of migration research is explaining the size of international migration flows at least in economics. Since international migration’s economic, cultural, and societal impacts crucially depend on the migrant’s characteristics (IOM, 2020), future research should focus more on self-selection into migration in heterogeneous contexts. That will enable policymakers to better anticipate future movements and their respective impacts and allow them to design policies accordingly.


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