A behavioural perspective on the drivers of migration: studying economic and social preferences using the Gallup World Poll

A behavioural perspective on the drivers of migration: studying economic and social preferences using the Gallup World Poll

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Klöble, Katrin
Discussion Paper 4/2021

Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

ISBN: 978-3-96021-141-9
DOI: 10.23661/dp4.2021

This paper addresses the self-selection of potential migrants. In particular, the study examines whether risk and time preferences explain a significant proportion in the movement heterogeneity of individuals. It is further intended to shed light on the role of social preferences (trust, altruism, reciprocity) as potential migratory determinants. By making use of a unique cross-sectional data set on migration intentions (Gallup World Poll) and experimentally-validated preferences (the Global Preference Survey) covering 70 countries worldwide, a probit model is estimated. The empirical results provide evidence that potential migrants exhibit higher levels of risk-taking and patience than their counterparts who stay at home (the stayers). This holds true across differing countries with various cultural backgrounds and income levels. Trust and negative reciprocity are found to be significantly related to migration aspirations as well. Yet conclusive clarifications still remain necessary, providing impetuses for future research.

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