June 1999

IZA DP No. 46: The Effects of Development on Migration: Theoretical Issues and New Empirical Evidence

Ralph Rotte, Michael Vogler

published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2000, 13(3), 485-508

Empirical research on the determinants of international migration including the LDCs has so far neglected one important issue: the complex relationship of development and migration. Since the beginning of the 1990s several arguments have been discussed which hint at the possibility that progress in development of less developed regions might lead to more migration, even if income differentials to the potential destination regions decrease. This paper presents these arguments and tests them for the case of migration to Germany from 86 Asian and African countries from 1981 to 1995. The results confirm the importance of dissolving financial restrictions on migration, migration networks, and changes in the societal structure of the sending countries as well as the existence of a home preference. It is shown, however, that population growth does not necessarily lead to more international migration. The estimations also control for the political situation in the home countries and for institutional measures in the host country.