Björn Nilsson recently published his paper “Role Models, Aspirations and the Desire to Migrate“, co-authored with Sandrine Mesplé-Somps (IRD), in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2023, 212, p. 819-839.
Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of role models on aspirations and the desire to migrate in rural Mali, implementing an RCT. Three documentaries are shown, depicting two successful life stories of non-migrants and migrants, and one unsuccessful migrant’s life story. We find that an identification process takes place, and that positive migrant and non-migrant role models increase aspirations and the feeling of control over one’s future, and decrease depression symptoms. None has a significant average impact on the desire to migrate. Heterogeneity analysis on the desire to migrate using Machine Learning suggests that belonging to migrant-prone households increases responses to positive and negative migrant role models. It also suggests working in agriculture, bad health conditions, low aspirations and living with migrants induce a stronger response to the film about local opportunities.