The impact of changes in the marital status on return migration of family migrants

Abstract

Many migrants have non-labour motives to migrate, and they differ substantially from labour migrants in their migration behaviour. For family migrants, the decision to return is highly influenced by changes in their marital status. Using administrative panel data on the entire population of recent family immigrants to the Netherlands, we estimate the effect of a divorce and remarriage on the hazard of leaving the Netherlands using a ‘timing of events’ model. The model allows for correlated unobserved heterogeneity across the migration, the divorce and remarriage processes. The family migrants are divided into five groups based on the Human Development Index (HDI) of their country of birth. We find that both divorce and remarriage increase return of family migrants from less-developed countries. Remarriage of family migrants from developed countries makes them more prone to stay. Young migrants are influenced most by a divorce. The impact of the timing of a divorce and remarriage on return is quantified graphically.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In most cases this is also prohibited by law.

  2. 2.

    For a thorough analysis of the labour market performance of (labour) migrants in the host country on their return decisions, we refer to Bijwaard et al. (2013).

  3. 3.

    We estimate \(\tilde {p}_{j}\) with \(p_j=\exp (\tilde {p}_{j})/(1+\exp (\tilde {p}_{j}))\) to assure that 0 ≤ p j ≤ 1.

  4. 4.

    One additional restriction is needed for identification. We let α m2 = 0.

  5. 5.

    Bijwaard et al. (2013) focus on labour migrants and the impact of labour market dynamics on their return.

  6. 6.

    Because most less-developed countries are far away from the Netherlands, the majority of LDCs is a long-distance country and we therefore changed the reference distance for this group.

  7. 7.

    The literature often posits differential effects of human capital variables on remarriage by gender. Our number of remarriages is too small to estimate separate remarriage rates by gender.

  8. 8.

    We also include employment profiles because labour market behaviour is also an important factor in explaining return (see Table 3). Bijwaard et al. (2013) investigate the relation between labour market behaviour and return in more detail. However, they focus on labour migrants only.

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Acknowledgments

This research is based on van Doeselaar’s Master thesis in Econometrics at Tilburg University. Financial support from the NORFACE research programme on Migration in Europe—Social, Economic, Cultural and Policy Dynamics is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Statistics Netherlands, Ruben van Gaalen in particular, for the data support. We thank Arthur van Soest and Jaap Abbring for the helpful comments. We would also thank the two anonymous referees and the editor-in-chief, Klaus Zimmermann, who provided very valuable inputs for a substantial revision of an earlier draft.

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Correspondence to Govert E. Bijwaard.

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Responsible editor: Klaus Zimmermann

Appendix

Appendix

Tables 10, 11, 12 and 13 provide information on the migrant groups: the main countries, the HDI and the religion dummy.

Table 10 Main LDCs
Table 11 Main IDCs
Table 12 DC country-specific information
Table 13 Mean values of included covariates by migrant group (at entry)

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Bijwaard, G.E., van Doeselaar, S. The impact of changes in the marital status on return migration of family migrants. J Popul Econ 27, 961–997 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-013-0495-3

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Keywords

  • Temporary migration
  • Timing-of-events method
  • Marital status dynamics

JEL Classification

  • J12
  • F22
  • C41