Small Business Economics

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 329–338 | Cite as

The international mobility of billionaires

  • Tino SanandajiEmail author


This paper uses data from Forbes Magazine’s list of billionaires, supplemented with other publicly available information, to study the migratory behavior of the very rich. Billionaires are more likely to move to countries that share a language and a culture with their country of birth and to countries with larger markets, higher incomes, and lower capital taxes. In total, only 15 % of self-made billionaires—almost all of whom are entrepreneurs—migrated to another country. One explanation for the modest rate of migration may be the country-specificity of entrepreneurs’ human capital. Eight out of ten migrants select a destination country with higher per capita income than that of their birth country, and seven out of ten move to a country with lower capital taxes.


Entrepreneurship Migration Taxes 

JEL Classifications

L26 F22 H2 



Financial support from the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Research Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. I thank David Cesarini, Kerwin Charles, Robert Lalonde, Raaj Sah and two anonymous referees for useful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harris School of Public PolicyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.The Research Institute of Industrial EconomicsStockholmSweden

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