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