Monday, April 25, 2011

Why so few? Brazilian emigration

(Read below for further details)

I've read in the last few weeks an interesting tentative debate on "Why do Brazilians emigrate so infrequently?". The question was posed by Tyler Cowen and Leonardo Moansterio, who started this 'conversatition'. Over a hundred comments later, the main hypothesis summarized by Leo are:
  • Many poor Brazilians cannot emigrate to developed countries because they are just too far away. Yes, distance and cost still play important roles as limiting factors.

  • The Brazilian middle class usually doesn't speak english or have family/friend network abroad (This would be mainly because Brazil has been a closed economy for a long period of time)

  • The relatively few high-educated Brazilians would have no strong reasons to emigrate permanently since they enjoy pretty good living standards.

Sounds plausible, right? now...., don't these tentative explanations sound familiar? Ravenstein (1885) and Everett S. Lee (1966) would probably say: "yessssss!"

By the way, the image above presents the international migration maps created by James Cheshire using R(!) and this database (I thank Jonathan Crowe for his post).

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