JMP - Economic Drivers of Family Reunification in a Context of International Migration

Job Market Paper


Migration is a family decision. Often the family is separated after the migration of one of its members and the desire to reunify can drive many decisions and choices made by the family. Will there be a reunification? After how long will the family reunify? Where will the reunification occur - in the host country or in the source country? Family-based migration requires a closer look at sequential migrations when migration involves an initial stage of separation before reunification. This paper develops a simple model of the utility-maximizing behavior of a representative household composed of two spouses. It presents insights about how wages, price levels, age at migration, and cost of migration impacts both the duration of separation and the location where the family reunifies. Empirical evidence on migration between Africa and Europe (MAFE database) is provided. I use survival analysis methods to investigate the timing of reunification. My results confirm some of the model’s predictions concerning the role of differences in the standards of living and the costs of migration, namely the price levels, the wealth in both countries, the costs of migration.

Rémi Viné
Lecturer, Faculty Lead, and Consultant

My research relates to migration topics (choice of mobility, impact of remittances on the left behind, the costs of transferring money, etc.), and to cross-border capital (FDI and remittances).