A new GLO Discussion Paper finds no support for the hypothesized positive effect of cultural similarity. However, religious similarity has a significant negative effect on migration.
GLO Discussion Paper No. 1349, 2023
GLO Affiliate Tobias Grohmann
Author Abstract: Theory suggests that cultural similarity increases migration flows between countries. This paper brings best practices from the trade gravity literature to migration to test this prediction. In my preferred specification, I use lags of time-varying similarity variables in a panel of international and domestic migration flows (>200 countries, 1990-2019, 5-year intervals) and estimate a theory-consistent structural gravity model with origin-year, destination-year, and corridor fixed effects. The results do not show the hypothesized positive effect of cultural similarity on migration. Instead, religious similarity has a significant negative effect on migration, while WVS-based attitudinal similarities regarding individualism, indulgence, and trust are insignificant. Additional results suggest that cultural selection and sorting can explain these findings, where migrants are attracted by destinations that are culturally similar to their personal cultural beliefs rather than the average cultural beliefs of their home country. Results of a two-stage fixed effects (TSFE) procedure and a gravity-specific matching estimator, which both allow the estimation of time-invariant similarity variables, confirm that the relationship between cultural similarity and migration is more nuanced than previously thought.
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Journal of Population Economics (JOPE)
JOPE (2022): CiteScore 9.2 (LINK) & Impact Factor 6.1; 524 K Downloads
December 4-6: Global Online GLO-JOPE Conference 2023 on ‘Population Economics’ with highlights of the Journal of Population Economics (JOPE) issues 3 & 4 of 2023 including the presentation of the JOPE 2024 Kuznets Prize. More information forthcoming.
Volume 36, Issue 4, 2023. Covered issues: Historical demography; fertility and marriage; migration and refugee issues; health, vaccinations, risky behaviors; education; retirement; gender issues and preferences
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