February 2011

IZA DP No. 5496: Emigration and Democracy

revised version published in: Journal of Development Economics, 2016, 120: 209-223

Migration is an important and yet neglected determinant of institutions. The paper documents the channels through which emigration affects home country institutions and considers dynamic-panel regressions for a large sample of developing countries. We find that emigration and human capital both increase democracy and economic freedom. This implies that unskilled (skilled) emigration has a positive (ambiguous) impact on institutional quality. Simulations show an impact of skilled emigration that is generally positive, significant for a few countries in the short run and for many countries in the long run once incentive effects of emigration on human capital formation are accounted for.