Labour Standards and Migration: do Labour Conditions Matter ?

Mardi | 2009-10-13

Rémi BAZILLIER – Yasser Moullan – Thierry BAUDASSE

We study in this paper the interactions between migration rates and the level of labourstandards. We use an augmented version of the Grogger and Hanson (2008) model, addingthe level of working conditions into the specification. Our hypothesis is that the differentialof working conditions may be a complementary determinant of migration. In a first time, wetest the influence of labour standards in countries of origin using a database on emigrationrates built by Defoort (2006) for the period 1975-1995. For labour standards, we built anoriginal index with a temporal dimension. We find that labour standards in the sourcecountries does not have a significant impact on the probability of moving abroad. In asecond time, we use a bilateral migration database built by Marfouk and Docquier (2004) inorder to test the influence of labour standards in destination countries. If labour standardsin the source countries do not have a significant impact on migration flows, level of labourconditions in destination countries have multiple effects on bilateral migration flows. Socialprotection or protection of collective relations have a positive impact on migration, whilejob and employment protection laws have the opposite effect. We also find that high-skilledworkers are much more sensitive to social security benefits while low skilled workers aremore attracted by a protective job and employment legislation.