This discussion paper resulted in an article in Spatial Economic Analysis (2011). Volume 6, issue 4, pages 359-376.
The rapid growth in the foreign-born population in many high and middle-income countries in the past decades has prompted much research on the socio-economic impacts of immigration. The migration issue has become one of the most debated subjects in many developed countries. Since the early 1990s, many applied studies have been conducted on the impact of international migration on international trade, foreign direct investment, and tourism. These studies have largely adopted the same specification, viz. the log-linear gravity model in combination with the knowledge capital model, where the (logarithm of the) stock of migrants from a specific source country may be included as an additional explanatory variable. Our study provides a concise review of the relationship between migrants and their international economic linkages. It then focuses on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), for both inward and outward FDI. The main aim of our study is to offer a synthesis by means of a meta-analysis of various studies undertaken worldwide, in order to test the robustness of the relationship between migration and foreign direct investment. Our primary results confirm that immigration has a positive impact on FDI investment in both directions (inward and outward), and that these impacts are higher when migrants are highly-educated and skilled.