Are Third World Emigration Forces Abating?

CID Faculty Working Paper No. 191

Timothy J. Hatton and Jeffrey G. Williamson
December 2009


While most observers appear to believe that Third World emigration pressure is on the rise, history suggests that migration typically follows a bell shape, in which case it might not be. This paper estimates the economic and demographic fundamentals driving emigration from the developing world to the United States since 1970. The results suggest that emigration pressure, determined largely by source country demographics, education, poverty and migrant stock dynamics, has been abating. Projections into the future suggest that it may even decline, and that its composition will be much more African and much less Hispanic.

Keywords: Third World, emigration, development, life cycle

JEL subject codes: F22, J1, O15