How Labor Migrants Fare

Part of the series Population Economics pp 1-11

How do labor migrants fare?

  • Amelie ConstantAffiliated withIZAIZA and Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Klaus F. ZimmermannAffiliated withIZAIZA, Bonn University and Free University of Berlin

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Migration is now a major area of interest in economics. This is fostered by a few global developments: The differences in economic growth among countries prevail or even rise and the freedom of moving is increasing. The demographic gaps between various regions across the world become more marked; aging and shrinking populations at one side and growing populations at the other side provide further motives for mobility. Globalization of information and production provides a stronger pressure on countries to adjust, and the demand for speed can only be satisfied by migrants. The rising importance of human capital in the production of goods and services around the world is followed by a decline in the demand for unskilled labor. This causes migratory moves from two adverse situations: There is excess demand and hence global competition for high-skilled workers who will work more flexible across countries and throughout their working life. Low-skilled workers, who exhibit excess supply on their labor markets, become more and more forced migrants who have to move to find a safe heaven in their struggle to satisfy their basic economic needs and better their lives. It is hard to find a