International migration, transfer of norms and home country fertility


  • This paper was written while Michel Beine was visiting the World Bank, DECRG Trade Unit. We thank David Green and one anonymous referee for very useful comments and suggestions. Thanks are also due to Chris Parsons for providing us with the data, to Assaf Razin, Hillel Rapoport, Caglar Özden, Ramón Lopez, Paola Conconi, and participants at the July 2008 OECD-CEPII Brain Drain Conference in Paris and of the TOM Conference in Louvain for their useful comments, and to Cristina Neagu for assistance with various aspects of the paper. The views presented in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of their respective institutions, including the World Bank, its executive directors, or the governments they represent. The second author acknowledges financial support from the ARC convention on Geographical Mobility of Workers and Firms (convention 09/14-019). Email:


This paper examines the relationship between international migration and source country fertility. The impact of international migration on source country fertility may have a number of causes, including a transfer of destination countries' fertility norms. We provide a rigorous test of the diffusion of fertility norms using highly detailed original data on migration. Our results provide evidence of a significant transfer of destination countries' fertility norms from migrants to their country of origin: a 1% decrease (increase) in the fertility norm to which migrants are exposed reduces (raises) home country fertility by about 0.3%. JEL classification: J13, J61, O11


Migration internationale, transfert des normes, et fécondité dans le pays d'origine. Cet article étudie la relation entre la migration internationale et la fécondité dans les pays d'origine des migrants. L'impact de la migration internationale sur la fécondité peut avoir plusieurs causes, y compris un transfert des normes de fécondité dans les pays de destination. On fournit un test rigoureux de la diffusion des normes de fécondité à l'aide de données originales détaillées sur la migration. Les résultats révèlent un transfert significatif des normes de fécondité des pays de destination vers les pays d'origine par le biais de la migration : un déclin de 1% dans la norme de fécondité à laquelle les migrants sont exposés réduit la fécondité dans le pays d'origine d'environ 0.3%.