Migration, Relationship Capital and International Travel: Theory and Evidence

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 31.10.2008, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Jacques Poot (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)


In this paper we consider how international migration is related to the frequency andduration of trips to the home country. For many migrants, international migrationtriggers a series of trips to visit the home country that allow for a replenishment of thedepleted relationship capital with family and friends back home, but these trips incurtravel costs and foregone earnings. Given plausible assumptions about thedepreciation and replenishment of home country relationship capital, a steady-statelevel of average maintained relationship capital implies that the optimized travelfrequency is inversely related to the distance and the transportation costs, andpositively related to the psychological costs of separation. The total time spent athome is increasing in the trip frequency, but with an elasticity that is decreasing incultural proximity. Empirical evidence in support of these theoretical predictions isfound in a unique longitudinal sample of international travel of 13,674 New Zealandcitizens and 6,882 UK citizens who migrated to Australia between 1 August 1999 and31 July 2000.

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