International Labor Flows

Migration Views from the Migrant, the Receiving-Country Economy, and the Sending-Country Family

by Jeffery C. Tanner

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Just as international capital flows are the manifestation of money going to its most productive use, international labor migration is the result of human capital flowing to more productive use. Yet challenges may arise along the way. This dissertation covers three topics — three points of view — of issues in international migration. The first paper examines a new facet of the question "Who migrates?" by taking a detailed look at the cognitive and mental health profiles of migrants to investigate a potential psycho-cognitive selection (a mentally healthy migrant hypothesis) as an explanation of an observed positive difference between the mental health of US Hispanics and the general US population. The second describes the pull factors and resultant political economy challenges of a receiving country in an extreme case of expatriate labor: Qatar. Finally, the third paper of the dissertation explores the impact of migration on sending families by examining the effect of paternal migration on the cognitive, behavioral, and physical development of children left behind.

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in June 2012 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Peter Glick (Chair), Paul Heaton, and Emma Aguila.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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