Regional Development

Determinants of regional localization of recent immigrants across OECD regions


Presentation by:
Monica Brezzi, Jean-Christophe Dumont,
Mario Piacentini and Cécile Thoreau, OECD

Migration is an important factor contributing to demographic and human capital changes in OECD regions. While there is increasing consensus that regional policy should take into account migration trends, there is still little cross-country evidence on the localization and determinants of immigration flows at the regional level. This paper emphasizes the importance of regional variation in the concentration of migrants on the basis of data collected for TL2 and TL3 regions for 20 OECD countries. It analyzes more particularly the location choices of recent immigrants and recent highly-skilled migrants in relation to the attractiveness of regions. Through regression models, we explore how regional characteristics and network effects affect the size and the composition of new migration flows at regional level under various assumptions with regard how regions compete for immigrants. The results show that there are substantial within country-differences in the capacity of regions to attract migrants, and these differences are particularly pronounced for highly-skilled immigration. Network effects are strong and skill-biased, highly skilled established migrants driving more skilled migration and lower unskilled migration. Migrants thus do not only pick countries, but also regions within countries. These within-country differences in location are likely to translate in strongly asymmetric effects of migration on regional development. The paper concludes by discussing options for future work and data needs.

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