Essays in migration studies: regional integration, the geography of human capital and ethnic communities formation in cities

Coniglio, Nicola Daniele (2004) Essays in migration studies: regional integration, the geography of human capital and ethnic communities formation in cities. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The essays within this thesis investigate a series of issues of a complex and varied phenomenon: migration, in the first essay we investigate the effects of regional economic integration on the incentive for labour to spatially relocate. By introducing skill heterogeneity and localised human capital externalities in a basic, new economic geography model we provide a framework for re-interpreting the basic core-periphery model as a brain drain model. Incentives and timing of migration of highly skilled individuals depend on the process of goods market integration. When trade costs are high, as in the traditional core-periphery model, a dispersed equilibrium with no incentive to migrate is a stable outcome. The initial phase of regional economic integration is characterised by a brain drain: the highly skilled have stronger incentives to migrate and will compose the initial wave of migrants. If integration comes to a halt, a positive self-selection of the migrants (with all of the highly skilled in one region in my model) might be a stable equilibrium. Eventually, if regional economic integration proceeds, further low-skilled migrants might find it convenient to follow the same pattern. These will lead to a complete agglomeration of all footloose workers in the core region. The results of the paper show the existence of a range of trade costs for which only high-skilled workers have an incentive to migrate. Therefore the benefit of introducing labour heterogeneity in the basic core-periphery model is to enable us to explain one of the most striking features of interregional migration patterns, the positive self selection of the migrants. The second essay moves in the direction of learning more about the micro-level migratory behaviour of talented individuals in the context of a peripheral region. The ability of a regional system to generate human capital is crucial, but it is not a sufficient condition leading to economic success. In this work we emphasise the importance of maintaining and attracting highly skilled and educated individuals and the challenges that migration flows pose for policymaking aimed at fostering human capital accumulation in peripheral regions. We employ a unique data set generated through a postal survey designed and conducted by the author. The focus of our analysis is on the micro-level location decisions of a sample of highly educated and skilled individuals residing in Basilicata, a small Italian Mezzogiorno region, who have benefited from a locally funded human capital investment policy. Thanks to the quality and riskless of the data employed, we are able to conduct a very detailed analysis of the migration propensities on the basis of individual's characteristics. We find that even within a fairly homogeneous group of highly skilled and educated individuals the probability to move is higher for the most talented. Individuals migration propensity considerably differ according to the subjects and the locations of attendance of their studies. In addition, we investigate what are the regional characteristics that make a region attractive for highly educated and talented individuals. The results of the analysis constitute a valuable knowledge that can be used in a strategic way to formulate talent attraction and retention policies. In the last essay, we extend previous models of migration networks and ethnic communities formation by considering migration as ethnic-community-wide phenomena where established migrants strategically provide support to newcomers. The incentive to provide support is associated with positive externalities which new waves of migrants might have on migrants already settled in the host location. Culturally-based tastes for particular goods and services generate an ethnic consumer demand and only individuals from the same ethnic community have the skills or the "insider's information" required to provide these goods (protected market). If the ethnic population is large enough, an ethnic sector will emerge and eventually grow as the ethnic population expands further. According to the degree of preferences toward ethnic consumption, the mobility costs of the source locality population and congestion costs (hostility externalities) in the host location, alternative scenarios may arise. These scenarios provide a possible explanation of why different groups of migrants show different migration dynamics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Geography, ethnic studies, labor relations.
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
Supervisor's Name: Wooton, Prof. Ian
Date of Award: 2004
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2004-71186
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2021 11:23

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