August 2005

IZA DP No. 1710: On the Estimation and Forecasting of International Migration: How Relevant Is Heterogeneity Across Countries?

published in: Empirical Economics, 2006, 31(3), 735-754

This paper performs a comparative analysis of estimation as well as of out-of-sample forecasting results of more than 20 estimators common in the panel data literature using the data on migration to Germany from 18 source countries in the period 1967-2001. Our results suggest that the choice of an estimation procedure has a substantial impact on the parameter estimates of the migration function. Out-of-sample forecasting results indicate the following: (i) the standard fixed effects estimators clearly outperforms the pooled OLS estimator, (ii) both the fixed effects estimators and the hierarchical Bayes estimator exhibit the superior forecast performance, (iii) the fixed effects estimators outperform GMM and other instrumental variables estimators, (iv) forecasting performance of heterogenous estimators is mediocre in our data set.