Beliefs, Preferences and Migration: Evidence from Combining Lab-in-Field and Natural Experiments
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We had immigrants play laboratory-in-field games that provide evidence on risk preferences and on the efficiency of decision-making by extended families. The immigrants had been successful ballot entrants in a migration lottery program, and these games also were played in the sending country amongst a sample of unsuccessful ballot entrants into the same migration lottery. The pro-market beliefs, time preferences and risk preferences of both sets of participants were also obtained with standard questions. Migration has large effects on the lives of the immigrants, with incomes tripling, and large changes in other components of objective and subjective welfare. But most beliefs and preferences of the immigrants do not appear to have changed up to a decade after migration, using responses from the nsuccessful ballot entrants as a counterfactual. The only change is that immigrants appear more trusting, in one variant of the games, and fewer of the immigrants exhibit very high rates of time discounting when given survey questions a bout hypothetical inter-temporal choices.