Roads, Internal Migration and the Spatial Sorting of US High-Skilled Workers (most recent version: November 2019).
Investments in transport infrastructure have persistent effects on the spatial allocation of economic activity. This paper asks whether these effects are heterogeneous across skill groups. I exploit the advent of the US Interstate Highway System to answer this question. Using an instrumental variable that builds on the network's geographic orientation and the timing of construction, I find that the share of college graduates in metropolitan areas increased by 0.5 percentage points with each new highway. To estimate the corresponding welfare effects, this paper extends a static quantitative spatial model to incorporate heterogeneous workers with different migration elasticities and mobility costs. A removal of the interstate network would lead to a decline in welfare of 13% for college graduates and 12% for non-graduates. The incidence on graduates is greater because they are more likely to migrate and, hence, incur the higher costs of relocating to a different city.
Asylum Policies, International Tensions and Trade Flows: Evidence from the EU (co-author: Ludovic Panon). New version coming soon.
A growing body of literature documents a positive effect of migrants and refugees on international trade flows. Using data on European import and export flows with 154 non-European countries from 2002 to 2015, we find a negative relationship between asylum policies and trade flows. In particular, higher asylum approval rates correlate negatively with European imports. We do not find evidence of a systematic relationship between exports and refugee policies. We argue that the negative correlation between imports and asylum policies is confounded by underlying international tensions. Asylum policies are often used by governments as a foreign policy tool, as countries are more likely to accept refugees from rival regimes. We provide evidence that asylum approval rates correlate with previously used measures of international tensions and are sensitive to international incidents.