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psc brown bag iconFertility, Migration, Altruism and Growth

Eli Berman (Boston University)

11/23/1998, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

(with Zaur Rzakhanov)

Consider migration to a higher income region as a human capital investment in which parents bear migration costs and children share returns. Migrants from a population with heterogeneous intergenerational discount rates will be self-selected on intergenerational altruism, or patience. Selection on patience provides an alternative explanation for Chiswick's classic earnings-overtaking result. Other supporting evidence is: 1) Soviet Jews who migrate to Israel despite high migration costs are self-selected to have more children than members of the same birth cohort who migrate later when costs are low. We distinguish selection from treatment effects using a comparison group of women who migrate after childbearing age. 2) Immigrants favor bequests more and spend more time with their grandchildren in the U.S. Health and Retirement Survey. 3) Immigrant-absorbing countries like the U.S. have higher fertility than other countries at comparable income levels. Selection on patience implies that immigrant-absorbing regions will grow faster, or have higher per capita income, or both.


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