Recent migration patterns show growing migration pressure and changing composition of immigrants in many Western countries. According to theory, the impact of immigration depends on the skill distribution of immigrants compared to the natives. During the latest decade, an increasing proportion of the immigrants have been from poor countries, where the educational level of the population is low. The comprehensive income support schemes, social safety net and a high tax pressure, may play a role in changing the composition of migration flows. This paper presents empirical evidence on immigration flows into 27 OECD countries over the period of 12 years, 1989-2000. Using a fixed effects panel data model, we analyze the determinants of the migration flows during the latest decade. We study whether there are significant selectivity effects in international migration flows, i.e. whether the countries with generous welfare schemes and high tax pressures tend to attract the low-skilled migrants. We look as well at the role of migration networks and non-economics factors such as cultural and linguistic distance or threat to own freedom and safety.
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EALE (European Association of Labour Economists), 2003