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Deep Trade Agreements and International Migration: The Role of Visa Provisions

Abstract
An increasing number of regional trade agreements contains provisions that ease access to visas among member countries, which reduces the administrative cost of crossing the border. Combining United Nations data on bilateral stocks of immigrants in the period 1990-2020 with World Bank data on the content of 279 regional trade agreements, this paper presents robust evidence of a positive effect of visa provisions in regional trade agreements on bilateral migration: the presence of visa provisions in regional trade agreements increases the bilateral stock of immigrants by 5.9 percent. This result is robust to an instrumental variable strategy addressing the endogeneity problem. The effect of the inclusion of visa provisions in regional trade agreements is particularly effective among country pairs with different income levels (such as North-South). For this type of country pairs, the presence of visa provisions in regional trade agreements increases the bilateral stock of immigrants by 13 percent. Finally, the paper shows that the effectiveness of visa provisions in regional trade agreements reduces with the anti-immigration sentiment of voters in the destination.
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Levelu, Anthonin; Mayda, Anna Maria; Orefice, Gianluca. 2023. Deep Trade Agreements and International Migration: The Role of Visa Provisions. Policy Research Working Papers;10324. © World Bank, Washington, DC. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/39485 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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