Migration and FDI: The Role of Job Skills



Ana Cuadros, Joan Martín-Montaner, Jordi Paniagua | International Review of Economics and Finance

Using a multi-country gravity framework, this paper models and quantifies the relevance of migrants’ job position in fostering Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

High-skilled migrants are defined as those individuals born in the investors’ home/host country occupying managerial or professional positions in the host/home country of investment. Our estimates show that higher shares of migrants with management skills in a given country promote FDI into that country.

In contrast, an increase in the share of migrants in non-qualified positions (regardless of their educational attainment) has a negative impact on FDI decisions.

These findings highlight that the FDI-enhancing effect of migrants is related to a shift in their skill composition due to their occupation. We test our model on a new global panel data set of Greenfield bilateral investment with a wide variety of specifications, both at the extensive and intensive margins.

Additionally, we provide new insights into the mechanisms by which migration influences FDI flows, with particular attention to the relevance of FDI level and activity.


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