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"A Theory of Migration as a Response to Occupational Stigma"

Stark, Oded and Fan, Simon C. (2010): "A Theory of Migration as a Response to Occupational Stigma". Forthcoming in: International Economic Review

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A theory is developed of labor migration that is prompted by a desire to avoid "social humiliation." In a general equilibrium framework it is shown that as long as migration can reduce humiliation sufficiently, migration will occur even between two identical economies. Migration increases the number of individuals who choose to perform degrading jobs and consequently, migration lowers the price of the good produced in the sector that is associated with low social status. Moreover, the greater an individual's aversion to performing degrading jobs, the more likely it is that he will experience a welfare gain when the economy opens up.

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