Essays on migration, education and work opportunities
Title: Essays on migration, education and work opportunities
Author: GIRSBERGER, Esther Mirjam
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2015
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Economics
This thesis explores migration and education decisions in the context of a West African developing country, namely Burkina Faso. The first chapter provides descriptive empirical evidence on migration motives, internal and international migration patterns, and the role of gender and family in observed migration patterns. I rely on a unique and rich life history data set on locations and activity spells and cross-sectional information on 9,000 men and women in Burkina Faso. The empirical analysis reveals that internal and international migration movements attract very different types of migrants, with education playing a key role. While male migrants without education are more likely to migrate abroad (i.e. to Côte d'Ivoire), their peers with secondary or higher education move to urban centers. I argue that restricting the analysis either to internal or international migration leads to wrong conclusions. Chapter 2 studies migration, education and work choices in Burkina Faso in a dynamic life-cycle model. I estimate the model exploiting long panel data of migrants and non-migrants combined with cross-sectional data on permanent emigrants. I uncover that seemingly large returns to migration dwindle away once the risk of unemployment, risk aversion, home preference and migration costs are factored in. Similarly, I also show that returns to education are not as large as measures on wage earners would suggest. While education substantially increases the probability of finding a well-paid job in a medium-high-skilled occupation, I also find that the risk of unemployment for labour market entrants is inverse U-shaped in education, leading to a re-evaluation of net returns to education. Rural individuals need to move in order to reap returns to education, thus facing direct and indirect costs of migration which further lower net returns to education. The last chapter investigates the interaction of education and migration decisions by simulating different policy regimes using the framework developed in the previous chapter. I analyse the effect of education on migration behaviour and show how migration prospects affect educational outcomes. I find that higher education not only leads to a higher incidence of migration (probability of migration, number of moves) but also redirects migrants from going abroad to urban centers. This finding is insofar important as it indicates how migration patterns will change as a result of education policies aiming at improving educational attainment in rural regions. The chapter also addresses the question of how migration prospects change education incentives. I find that restricting emigration entails a positive (but small) effect on education, and a negative effect if restricting migration to urban centers.
LC Subject Heading: Emigration and immigration -- Economic aspects; Africa -- Emigration and immigration
Defence date: 16 January 2015; Examining Board: Professor Jérôme Adda, EUI & Bocconi University, Supervisor; Professor Árpád Ábrahám, EUI; Professor Jeremy Lise, University College London; Professor Ahu Gemici, Royal Holloway, University of London.
Type of Access: openAccess