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Distortions in the international migrant labor market: Evidence from filipino migration and wage responses to destination country economic shocks

Publication Abstract

Mckenzie, David, Caroline Theoharides, and Dean Yang. 2014. "Distortions in the international migrant labor market: Evidence from filipino migration and wage responses to destination country economic shocks." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 6(2): 49-75.

We use an original panel dataset of migrant departures from the Philippines to identify the responsiveness of migrant numbers and wages to GDP shocks in destination countries. We find a large, significant response of migrant numbers to GDP shocks at destination, but no significant wage response. This is consistent with binding minimum wages for migrant labor. This result implies that labor market imperfections that make international migration attractive also make migrant flows more sensitive to global business cycles. Difference-in-differences analysis of a minimum wage change for maids confirms that minimum wages bind and demand is price sensitive without these distortions.

DOI:10.1257/app.6.2.49 (Full Text)

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