Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 977–1005

Stymied ambition: does a lack of economic freedom lead to migration?

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-017-0633-4

Cite this article as:
Meierrieks, D. & Renner, L. J Popul Econ (2017) 30: 977. doi:10.1007/s00148-017-0633-4


We investigate the relationship between economic freedom and international migration for the 1980–2010 period using a dataset on migration from 91 emerging countries to the 20 most attractive OECD destination countries. We find that more economic freedom at home discourages high-skilled migration, but not low-skilled migration. The negative association between economic freedom and high-skilled emigration also holds when we estimate (dynamic) panel models that allow for endogeneity in the economic freedom-migration nexus. In sum, our findings suggest that high-skilled migration is especially responsive to the economic incentives resulting from economic freedom.


Economic freedom International migration Low-skilled and high-skilled migration 

JEL Classification

F22 J61 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

Personalised recommendations