The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

International Migration

  • George J. Borjas
Reference work entry


The resurgence of large-scale immigration in many countries has stimulated a great deal of research on many aspects of the economics of immigration. A key insight of economic theory is that the impact of immigration depends on how the skills of immigrants compare with those of natives in the host country. This article examines the ideas and models that are typically used to analyse flows of persons across countries, and illustrates how this framework increased our understanding of the determinants of the direction, size, and skill composition of immigrant flows, and of the consequences of those flows on economic outcomes.


Elasticity of complementarity Elasticity of substitution Immigrant self-selection Immigrant skills Immigration and the welfare state Immigration surplus International migration Labour flows Labour markets Migration costs National Academy of Sciences (US) Redistribution of income Roy model Social insurance 

JEL Classifications

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Altonji, J., and D. Card. 1991. The effects of immigration on the labor market outcomes of less-skilled natives. In Immigration, trade, and the labor market, ed. J. Abowd and R. Freeman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, M., and D. Benjamin. 1994. The performance of immigrants in the Canadian labor market. Journal of Labor Economics 12: 369–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beggs, J., and B. Chapman. 1991. Male immigrant wage and unemployment experience in Australia. In Immigration, trade, and the labor market, ed. J. Abowd and R. Freeman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Borjas, G. 1985. Assimilation, changes in cohort quality, and the earnings of immigrants. Journal of Labor Economics 3: 463–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borjas, G. 1987. Self-selection and the earnings of immigrants. American Economic Review 77: 531–553.Google Scholar
  6. Borjas, G. 1995. The economic benefits from immigration. Journal of Economic Perspectives 9(2): 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borjas, G. 1999. The economic analysis of immigration. In Handbook of labor economics, vol. 3A, ed. O. Ashenfelter and D. Card. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  8. Borjas, G. 2003. The labor demand curve is downward sloping: Reexamining the impact of immigration on the labor market. Quarterly Journal of Economics 118: 1335–1374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Card, D. 1990. The impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami labor market. Industrial and Labor Relations Review 43: 245–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Card, D. 2001. Immigrant inflows, native outflows, and the local labor market impacts of higher immigration. Journal of Labor Economics 19: 22–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chiquiar, D., and G. Hanson. 2005. International migration, self-selection, and the distribution of wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States. Journal of Political Economy 113: 239–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chiswick, B. 1978. The effect of Americanization on the earnings of foreign-born men. Journal of Political Economy 86: 897–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cobb-Clark, D. 1993. Immigrant selectivity and wages: The evidence for women. American Economic Review 83: 986–993.Google Scholar
  14. Davis, D., and D. Weinstein. 2002. Technological superiority and the losses from migration. Working Paper No. 8971. Cambridge, MA: NBER.Google Scholar
  15. Dustmann, C. 1993. Earnings adjustment of temporary immigrants. Journal of Population Economics 6: 153–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fehr, H., S. Jokisch, and L. Kotlikoff. 2004. The role of immigration in dealing with the developed worlds demographic transition. FinanzArchiv 69: 296–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Friedberg, R., and J. Hunt. 1995. The impact of immigration on host county wages, employment and growth. Journal of Economic Perspectives 9(2): 23–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grossman, J. 1982. The substitutability of natives and immigrants in production. The Review of Economics and Statistics 54: 596–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hamermesh, D. 1993. Labor demand. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Johnson, G. 1997. Estimation of the impact of immigration on the distribution of income among minorities and others. In Help or hindrance? The economic implications of immigration for African-Americans, ed. D. Hamermesh and F. Bean. New York: Russell Sage Press.Google Scholar
  21. Pischke, J.-S., and J. Velling. 1997. Employment effects of immigration to Germany: An analysis based on local labor markets. The Review of Economics and Statistics 79: 594–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Roy, A. 1951. Some thoughts on the distribution of earnings. Oxford Economic Papers 3: 135–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Smith, J., and B. Edmonston (eds.). 1997. The new Americans: Economic, demographic, and fiscal effects of immigration. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  24. Storesletten, K. 2000. Sustaining fiscal policy through immigration. Journal of Political Economy 108: 300–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. United Nations. 2002. International migration, 2002. New York: Population Division, Department of Economics and Social Affairs, United Nations.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • George J. Borjas
    • 1
  1. 1.