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On the anatomy of immigrant integration: Evidence from the Soviet Jewry exodus

07.07.2022 14:00 CET Seminar Series of the Economics Dept.

Presentation by Pavel Jelnov (Leibniz Univeristy of Hannover and IZA) as part of the Economics Department seminar series at the IOS.

This paper investigates a natural experiment, where voluntary immigrants are quasi-randomly allocated to two countries. The treated individuals are Soviet Jews who emigrated in 1989-1991, and the countries are Israel and the United States. American policy change on October 1st, 1989, generated a redirection in the flow of emigrants with Israeli visa. Pavel Jelnov investigates individuals who immigrated as young adults when they are around 17 years after immigration.  The considered outcomes are fertility, parental labor market outcomes, and propensity of divorce. Pavel Jelnov finds strong income effects and relatively weak substitution effects among immigrants to Israel, a destination with a lower level of income. In particular, the negative income effect of childbearing forces low-educated mothers to work more than childless women and drives the partners of high-educated mothers to earn more. However, among immigrants to the U.S., income effect is "too weak'' and substitution effect is "too strong''  given their high level of income.  It includes a "too high'' labor force participation of mothers, a "too strong'' relationship between education and childbearing, and a "too low'' rate of divorce. He concludes that immigrants to the U.S., a country with more economic opportunities, are averse of giving these opportunities away.

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