The article provides evidence that countries with stronger beliefs that hard work leads to a higher social status (the ‘American Dream’) attract a higher proportion of high-skilled immigrants.
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Claudia Lumpe: “Public beliefs in social mobility and high-skilled migration”
Journal of Population Economics, Vol. 32 (2019), Issue 3, pp. 981–1008.
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GLO Fellow Claudia Lumpe
Author Abstract: This paper investigates how beliefs of the destination country’s population in social mobility may influence the location choice of high-skilled migrants. We pool macro data from the IAB brain-drain dataset with population survey data from the ISSP for the period 1987–2010 to identify the effect of public beliefs in social mobility on the share of high-skilled immigrants (stocks) in the main OECD immigration countries. The empirical results suggest that countries with higher “American Dream” beliefs, i.e., with stronger beliefs that climbing the social ladder can be realized by own hard work, attracted a higher proportion of high-skilled immigrants over time. This pattern even holds against the fact that existing social mobility in these countries is relatively lower.