Are immigrants more ambitious than their non-migrant compatriots?

Javier G. Polavieja, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
María Ramos, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Mariña Fernández-Reino, migration Observatory (Oxford)

There is no universal pattern in immigrant selection. In other words, in some cases migrants are more oriented towards success than their compatriots who did not migrate, whereas in other cases they are less success-oriented than the latter.
Key points
  • 1
       It is often argued that immigration leads to a draining of talent and entrepreneurship in countries of origin.
  • 2
       This study analyses whether immigrants in different European countries are more oriented towards success than their compatriots who did not migrate by looking at three areas: orientation towards success, towards risk and towards money.
  • 3
       There is no universal pattern in immigrant selection, which in some cases is positive and in other cases, negative.
Motivational orientations of migrants and of their compatriots who did not emigrate
Motivational orientations of migrants and of their compatriots who did not emigrate

On average, the migrants of the set of countries score higher than their non-migrant compatriots on scales of orientation towards success, towards risk and towards money. However, although in some origin/destination combinations positive selection in these motivational traits is maintained (for example, in Europeans resident in other countries of the eurozone that share a common language), in other combinations the opposite occurs, such as for example in the case of Europeans from Eastern Europe in other countries in the of the European Union, or Moroccans in the case of Spain or Turks in the wealthy European countries.

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Javier G. Polavieja , Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
María Ramos , Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Mariña Fernández-Reino , migration Observatory (Oxford)

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