Monday, September 04, 2006

Fertility in Morocco

by Edward Hugh

Actually the big demographic news of the moment has to be what is going-off in the stretch of water between Mauritania and the Canary Islands. Since I am posting on this separately at A Fistful of Euros, I thought it might be timely to also take a quick look at why Moroccan immigration into Spain isn't the big issue everyone thought it was going to be. Basically, as we can now see from the rising importance of Sub-Saharan migration to Spain, there are nothing like the number of Moroccans arriving in Spain - at least proportionately - as there were back in the 1990s. Undoubtedly there are many reasons for this change, but one of these without doubt is the impact of the demographic transition on Morocco itself.

Essentially, as can be seen in this article, fertility has been falling rapidly in Morocco. By 2004, average TFRs were down to 2.5, with TFRs in the urban areas at around replacement level. This was down from 3.1 in the mid-ninetees. Thus the decline is rapid, and it is undoubtedly continuing. One of the consequences of this is undoubtedly that internal migration inside Morocco itself - from rural to urban - is now the main driver of the migration process.

Economic growth in Morocco, which has been volatile now seems to be taking off (but note this since part of the volatility seems to be related to a move out of traditional primary sector activities in agriculture and fishery, with an ongoing shift into industry and services), and inbound foreign investment and an expanding package of reforms is undoubtedly playing a part in this.

Another component in the fertility decline is undoubtedly increasing female education, with the proportion of girls in the 15-24 age group with no education decreasing between 1992 and 2004 from 50 percent to 34 percent, while the proportion of the female population with secondary and higher educational attainment increasing from 29 percent to 42 percent over the same period. What this seems to reflect is a very rapid transition among the female population from schooling exclusion to significant educational levels, something which may be related to traditional taboos about labour market entry.

If we turn to immigration we can see from this document that while in 1998 there were 200,000 Moroccans resident in Spain (a figure which was up from 59,000 in 1990), by 2005 this number had only increased to 397,000. And this period was one in which inward migration into Spain was enormous.

Basically at the end of the 90s there were around 400,000 non-Spanish residing in Spain. By January 2005 this number had risen to 4 million (at this point there are probably something over 5 million given the continuing migration rates of about 700,000 a year). So Moroccans went from constituting about 50% of the migrant population to under 10% in 5 or 6 years. Given the proximity of Morocco to Spain, and the comparative ease of undocumented workers establishing themselves here, some explanation is needed for this.

One part of the explanation undoubtedly lies in the existence of an implicit pact between the Spanish and Moroccan governments to restrict migration from inside Morocco. To some extent this collaboration is reflected in the numbers of Moroccans intercepted in maritime crossings which had fallen from 81% of the total in 1999 to 55% in 2004 (and which are obviously currently many fewer). But obviously the collaboration is only possible against a background of common interest, a background which is provided by the utility of foreign investment in a Morocco which is ripe for economic take-off. So the other part of the explanation, I suggest, is the one I have offered here.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Even if the total number of Moroccan immigrants were to continue rising, the percentage of Moroccans among Spain's immigrant population would fall simply because Spain is getting so many immigrants from elsewhere. I've heard that there is a big influx of Latin American immigrants into Spain, especially as entry into the United States becomes more difficult. This is good news for Spain, as Latin American immigrants are obviously much easier to assimilate and much less problematic than Moroccans.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

Noel Maurer said...

This is very interesting stuff! I have a few criticisms here, however. At times, this blog unintentionally obfuscates more than it illuminates.

Let's start with the first paragraph. What do you mean when you say that Moroccan migration to Spain is falling "proportionately"?

It later becomes clear that you mean "proportionate to the total number of immigrants," but it is not clear why that is relevant. (The first commentator made this same point, to give credit where it's due.) Your implicit model assumes that an increase in the "demand" for immigrants in Spain --- for whatever reason --- should have been met by an increase in the supply from Morocco. The logical implications, therefore, are that it was easy for a migrant from Morocco to get to Spain (or else we would have no reason to expect that an increase in total migration to Spain would be met by Moroccan migration) and that most Moroccans who wanted to leave were already capable of doing so (or else the first assumption would not be correct).

Now, that circle could be squared by arguing that the returns to migration increased dramatically for Moroccans, but you later on argue that such is not the case.

You go on to discuss the recent fall in Moroccan fertility. That seems a bit confusing. Why would the fall in Moroccan fertility have anything to do with the recent fall in emigration? There are two rather strong reasons to think that this is a red herring. First, population momentum means that the population entering the ages at which people migrate is still growing quickly. Frex, the population aged 20-39 will grow at an annual rate of 1.3% per year over the next quarter-century. Second, other countries have seen fertility drops at least as pronounced without seeing any drop in emigration. Mexico comes to mind immediately, but there are many more.

I understand that you don't think that the fertility drop is the cause of the fall in migration, but you need to parse the post pretty carefully to understand that. Why did you put the fertility discussion first, when it is an aside to the main topic?

Finally, you conclude by saying that Moroccan collaboration with the Spanish authorities is the main culprit, although you also mention economic growth. I am not convinced of either hypothesis by the evidence you present, because I am not convinced that Moroccan emigration has declined. Has Moroccan emigration decreased relative to the Moroccan population? If not, then all you have established is that Spanish and Moroccan policy limited Moroccan migration (if not as much as Madrid might have liked) and that migrants from other places filled the gap. (Either because of an increasing demand for workers in Spain, an increasing desire to emigrate in Africa and Latin America, or a change in Spanish policy towards migration from elsewhere.)

In short, the evidence you present does not seem to suggest that anything has changed in the migratory relationship between Spain and Morocco. Of course, there may be other data that would falsify the above hypothesis. If so, I would be interested in seeing it.

Edward Hugh said...

Hi Peter,

I am not entirely in agreement with your sentiments, especially on two counts:

"especially as entry into the United States becomes more difficult."

I think this is a huge assumption, I've been hearing since 1922 (not directly of course, but through hearsay, since this was the year my father entered the US as a migrant) that inward migration to the US was going to get harder, and for a time, in truth, it did. However since the late seventees there have been repeated efforts and little success. In fact the migratory flows from the south seem to have fallen back a bit since the Nasdaq-break high point (data Pew Hispanic centre, posted on this site), but there are still plenty acoming.

I think to expect otherwise is to misunderstand the nature of the migratory process, which is I conjecture driven by a fertility differential (which ceases, normally, to operate as a country approaches replacement fertility), and the relative availability of work (or functioning of the labour market) in the receiving country. These I think are the two key variables. If migration has eased up a bit in the last three or four years then I guess this might reflect a relative weakening of the US labour market in comparison with the 1995-2000 one, coupled with a rising number of young labour market entrants in the US itself.

"as Latin American immigrants are obviously much easier to assimilate and much less problematic than Moroccans."

This may be true in the US it isn't in Spain, since Spanish culture was at one point (and for several hundred years) strongly under the influence of the ancestral culture of the current Moroccan migrants (who are largely Berbers and not Arabs). I have nothing against Latin American migrants whatsoever, but I have to tell you as a matter of fact that the majority of migrant adolescent gang violence and gender-related killing and violence here in Spain comes from Ecuadorians, and by a long way.

On a more general level:

"Even if the total number of Moroccan immigrants were to continue rising, the percentage of Moroccans among Spain's immigrant population would fall simply because Spain is getting so many immigrants from elsewhere."

This is obviously true but the argument is circular. The issue is still given that there is a big demand for immigrants why haven't more come from Morocco? The aftermath of 09/11 obviously forms a part, but I think it is only one part, and it also cuts two ways since the US, Spain and France have at the same time made great efforts to encourage reform and development in Morocco (including inward investment) and part of my argument is that this is now bearing fruit, Morocco will soon itself attract migrants for its own labour market.(Anecdotal evidence for the growing scarcity of young people comes from the fact that just last weekend compulsory military service was abolished in Morocco).

As the Senegalese demonstrate the Moroccans could easily come if they wanted to, the point is, by and large, they don't want to.

Just a detail. Spain has two city enclaves in Morocco (Ceuta and Mellila). Moroccan workers enter and leave every day rather like Palestinians used to do in Israel. Getting acrosss this frontier is no big deal unless you are black (ie sub-Saharan). Once inside you are effectively in Spain, all you need is an easy to obtain forged Spanish id card and you hop on a plane just like anyone else, there is no 'frontier' to cross.

The issue is that as fertility reduces towards replacement migratory flows grind to a halt, and a new pattern of better educated, more foot-lose, globetrotting emigration emerges. This I think has been the whole history of migration in modern times (apart from war and other exceptional circumstances).

If you can bear this argument being explained in even more detail (complete with a ritual debunking of Greg Mankiw who holds that fertility isn't economically interesting) then you could try my post on Afoe which I link to about Senegalese migration, the two posts go together really.

Edward Hugh said...

Hi Noel,

"I have a few criticisms here, however."

Yes, I could have imagined :).

"What do you mean when you say that Moroccan migration to Spain is falling "proportionately"?"

You are quite right, this wording is very sloppy. The substance of the point however I feel I have tried to answer in my reply to Peter, namely that there has been a huge demand for undocumented labour here in Spain, and Moroccans have, by and large, declined to come.

I think in a way you may be right to quibble my wording since I now can express better what I want to say, which is that the migration flow is *on the wane* in Morocco, it still exists, but has entered decline as a proportion of the total population. The current rate is 0.97 per 1,000 population (2005). This is slightly lower than say Mexico to US (1.17 per 1,000).

More to the point the pattern of the migration has changed from male breadwinner to family reunion.

The fact is that Moroccan immigration just isn't seen as an important question here today in Spain. I would say there is more concern about Romanians, and now this Senegalese flow. (I don't know if Peter is still reading at this point, and I don't know whether it is simply prejudice or not, but Romanians are certainly perceived as being a lot harder to integrate than either Moroccans or Ecuadorians).

"Why would the fall in Moroccan fertility have anything to do with the recent fall in emigration?"

Well I've tried to answer that, and I certainly don't think its either a cannard or a red herring, rather I think it is the heart of the matter.

You are quite right of course that there is population momentum, but the whole democraphic dividend theory suggests that as the number of those in the new cohorts declines there is an accompanying rise in economic activity (growth spurt) and that this process is a non-linear one: viz migration suddenly dries up (and note the military service argument).

What continues is family re-unification which involves wives and children, but this is a different issue, I am talking primarily about the proto-typical young male labour market entrant.

"Mexico comes to mind immediately, but there are many more."

I agree, Mexico is an interesting case, but its close proximity to that huge engine which is the US labour market machine suggests that there may well be distortions here, and that Mexico may not be typical. In any event the interesting question would be why Morocco has not suffered the 'Tequilla effect' with the huge boom in the Spanish labour market - remember 5 million migrants (more than 10% of the total population in 6 years or so) this is *proportionately* much bigger than anything that has happened in the US.

"I understand that you don't think that the fertility drop is the cause of the fall in migration"

You understand badly then since this is, in a way, what I do think, although I certainly wouldn't use a loaded word like *cause*, it is a factor (the most important), one which facilitates take-off in Morocco itself.

"Finally, you conclude by saying that Moroccan collaboration with the Spanish authorities is the main culprit,"

No, I am saying it is another factor, part of the general picture. In a certain sense Morocco is a conformist society rather like China (in this sense it is very different from Algeria). In one case you have a communist party driving reform, in the other a King (rather like Spain, in its day). The regime indicates that migration is not well seen, but there will be a compensating reward, economic development and growth, again a kind of social compact not dis-similar to the Chinese one.

My feeling is that at the end of the day Morocco will be fully democratic before China ever is.

"if not as much as Madrid might have liked"

I think you'll find, as I suggested to Peter, that Madrid currently has no complaints whatever at present about Moroccan migration, indeed Spain relies on Morocco to police the arrival of Sub-Saharan migrants. In return I guess they may make family re-unification easier, remember there is still legal migration taking place.

"I am not convinced of either hypothesis by the evidence you present"

Well this Noel is your perfect right.

"At times, this blog unintentionally obfuscates more than it illuminates."

We do our best Noel, we do our best. That, in the end, is all we can do.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that Moroccan immigration just isn't seen as an important question here today in Spain. I would say there is more concern about Romanians, and now this Senegalese flow. (I don't know if Peter is still reading at this point, and I don't know whether it is simply prejudice or not, but Romanians are certainly perceived as being a lot harder to integrate than either Moroccans or Ecuadorians).

Still reading!
I'm very surprised that Romanians are considered harder to integrate than the Moroccans or Ecuadorians. After all, the Romanians are Christian, white, and speak a language somewhat related to Spanish. Contrast them with the Moroccans, who are Muslim, nonwhite, and speak completely unrelated languages (plural as I'm including Berber as well as Arabic). Or especially the Ecuadorians, who while nonwhite are Spanish-speaking Christians.
I suppose the moral of the story is that assimmilation works far differently in Spain than it would in the United States.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

Edward said...

Hi again Peter, Nice to see you are still there :).

"I suppose the moral of the story is that assimmilation works far differently in Spain than it would in the United States."

I suppose this would be the point really, it is so very hard to generalise here. What we have are stereotypes and prejudices, and societies which work along different parameters.

Maybe I should explain about the Romanians. The issue is really that many people in Spain don't like gypsies, and a significant number of the Romanians now in Spain belong to that community (they are Roma). Since their culture and customs clashes strongly with the Spanish one this is perceived as a problem. This is all I was saying really, but it does get a lot of attention in the media.

OTOH the main group who suffered in the March 11 bombings were Romanians, and there was a lot of sympathy at that time towards this community. So I would say that a lot here is neither rational nor consistent.

Basically the East Europeans were welcomed initially as an alternative to Moroccans, but now there are also extensive East European criminal networks and people aren't so happy about this.

Again the Senegalese who are coming are of course Muslim, but this isn't perceived as an issue, it is the fact that they are black which seems to be what people focus on most.

I think it is also important to distinguish between something like assimilation and something like integration (I say 'something like' because I don't want to get hung up on terminology).

I would say that the Chinese here are perfectly assimilated, but they are not at all integrated. This all relates to what a term like 'community' means in a thoroughly globalised world.

The Moroccans are more assimilated than they are integrated, that is clear. There were big clashes back in the 90s when they first started arriving, but these have now notably subsided, and little by little the Moroccans are making their way in Spanish society.

This acceptance is facilitated, as I am suggesting, by the fact that Moroccans now form a comparatively small part of the migrant community, and this surely influences how they are seen. In part you could say that the Spanish and Moroccan governments have contrived to make this happen.

Of course worries about terrorism are in the back of everyone's minds, but equally most are aware that the vast majority of Moroccans have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.

Andalusia is a big part of the Spanish identity, and cultural ties between Andalusia and the Maghreb are a lot stronger than I think you were imagining. Music would be just one example.

Again, in terms of family values the Moroccans are much nearer to the Spanish than, say, the Ecuadorians are. Families among the migrants who arrive here are what you could call 'destructured'.

The bottom line to all this comes of course when we get to the second generation, the children who will be born in Spain, I think only then (and remember immigration into Spain is a very recent phenomenon) will we get to see who is assimilated and who isn't.

Edward said...

Noel, one more time:

"At times, this blog unintentionally obfuscates more than it illuminates."

I think this is probably an over generalisation, but sleeping on it I am aware that in some ways I may have obfuscated more than I illuminated in this post, although I think now we are getting there.

I am stressing that we need to think about migration as a process and a stage in the development of a modern society. Not all societies go through this process (obviously the US, Canada and Australia would be good examples of those who don't since they have been built on inward migration) and not all go through it in the same way as we can see from differences between say Pakistan and India.

A migratory stage did however form part of the prototype European 'model', and there are still plenty of examples of the general underlying process at work. Recent Turkish history would be a good example. I am not sure whether or not you are aware of this but outward migration from Turkey has virtually dried up as Turkey itself is developing. There is now also very little migration from Algeria and Tunisia.

I am really suggesting that Morocco is now following this pattern.

The demographic dividend which I keep mentioning is a phenomenon which can arise as the age structure of a society changes. The existence of this dividend implies that at some stage in a society's development economic growth takes off. As and when this happens there is an increased demand for young people to work as growth accelerates, while at the same time there are proportionately less people in the younger cohorts. This can all happen very rapidly.

As we can see in the case of China, where at the end of the 1990s people were talking about a 'surplus labour army' of some 200 million, and now many commentaries talk about growing labour shortages.

Thus my thesis is that we may be nearing the tipping point in Morocco where reduced internal supply flows and increased internal demand flows just start to balance each other. After that happens the only migratory flows out of Morocco will be family re-unification and well-qualified Moroccans seeking appropriate work, just like you might well currently find well-educated young Europeans drifting around New York.

S.M. Stirling said...

2.5 is within spitting distance of 2.1.

I'd guess that Morocco will fall below 2.1 sometime in the next 5 years, then; a bit sooner than I expected.

And go right on falling, as well. In 20 years, will there be any difference between Spanish and Moroccan TFR's?

S.M. Stirling said...

Current drops in TFR's aren't likely to impact migration much, though.

Migrants are typically between about 18 and 40; so it would be the birth-rates in 1966-88 that would be relevant.

The decline in the proportion of Moroccans among immigrants to Spain must have another explanation, then.

Probably increased employment opportunities within Morocco, possibly combined with offical actions.

S.M. Stirling said...

Ah, I think I see what Edward is saying.

The drop in the birthrate reduces emigration by reducing the dependency ratio, thus (other things being equal) accelerating domestic economic growth and increasing employment opportunities?

Is that what you were arguing?

Edward said...

"2.5 is within spitting distance of 2.1."

Oh, very much so Stirling, very much so.

"In 20 years, will there be any difference between Spanish and Moroccan TFR's?"

Interesting question this one too. Obviously reading the future is a hard thing, but it wouldn't surprise me if Moroccan fertility in 2020 were below Spanish fertility.

My reasoning would be that the upward displacement in average first birth ages (currently this is the planetary highest at something over 30) may be nearing some kind of ceiling in Spain, and so due to the eradication of the tempo effect TFRs may trend upwards a little towards the 1.6 or 1.7 zone, while Morocco has a long stretch to cover before the average age of women at first birth hits 30. So we are in for an extended 'birth drought' at some point in Morocco and very low registered TFRs, though just how low remains to be seen, and depends in part, obviously, on the rate of economic development in Morocco.

On which incidentally it might be worth noting that one of the reasons the Senegalese are coming to Spain is to work in the 'greenhouses' of Almeria. Now in principle there is no reason why all of this agricultural activity could not be transferred to Morocco, and I imagine that with time it will be, although obviously we will need a change in the Doha agricultural terms first.

Of course my suggestion that TFRs may trend up again in Spain is contingent on there being no serious eurozone financial crisis in the interim. Since the unsustainable finances of several key players doesn't guarantee that this won't happen it is hard to be sure that Spanish fertility won't go the way of Belorusia, Latvia or Bulgaria, were I for one don't anticipate seeing any fertility recovery anytime soon.

Edward said...

"The drop in the birthrate reduces emigration by reducing the dependency ratio, thus (other things being equal) accelerating domestic economic growth and increasing employment opportunities?

Is that what you were arguing?"

Yes exactly, this is the standard Demographic Dividend theory as advocated (for eg) by US economist David Bloom. It's a nind of 'win-win' process.

CV said...

I, for one, am a sucker for good definitions and this one is worth remembering!

'The drop in the birthrate reduces emigration by reducing the dependency ratio, thus (other things being equal) accelerating domestic economic growth and increasing employment opportunities?'

I will be pasting it into to my notes on the DD shortly.

Noel Maurer said...

Edward: Ah! Thanks. Steve restated the argument quite clearly. Thanks, Steve.

If I may, it seems that three things have to be true for your argument to be correct.

(1) Wages in Morocco should be rising relative to Spain.

(2) The rise in relative wages should be due to the fall in TFRs, and not some other factor.

(3) Moroccan emigration rates (relative to both the Moroccan population and the Moroccan resident population in Spain) should be falling.

Demonstrating (2) is the sticky point, but IIRC Jeff Williamson has some thoughts on the issue, and I'm sure that one could produce an economic model that would allow you to estimate the effects.

My intuition tells me that unless you've got rising savings and investment rates, then you don't have a boom driven by a fall in the dependent population. That's because the mechanism for these booms is usually taken to be that resources previously used to feed and educate children can now be used to invest in physical and human capital --- e.g., in rising savings and investment rates.

Noel Maurer said...

Edward: I have an ex-girlfriend who lives in Barcelona. My good friend Adrian has a current girlfriend who is from Barcelona.

My ex complains about Catalan racism --- she's from Mexico. Adrian's partner complains about Catalan ethnocentrism --- she was born in Catalonia to a family of Castillian migrants.

I saw some fairly nasty -- but not irredeemable -- stuff when I there in 2002, including elderly Catalans complaining vociferously about immigration in the nastiest terms, right in front of the immigrants in question.

I also saw a cab driver take me to some crappy housing projects on the outskirts of town and say, "These places have always been full of immigrants. They used to be from Spain; now they're from Morocco."

Very confusing place. How do your kids fit in?

S.M. Stirling said...

"but it wouldn't surprise me if Moroccan fertility in 2020 were below Spanish fertility."

-- I wouldn't be surprised either, but I think our reasoning differs slightly.

I'd put it down to the deep-cultural similarities between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterraenan.

When these get impacted by 'macro-modernization' they interact to drive fertility to very low levels.

Particularly, when education and general opportunities for women expand, they interact with continuing and very strong assumptions about gender roles at the family level to make women chose to cut their reproduction to a very low minimum.

In other words, Maghgrebi fertility will crash to the current Spanish/Italian levels.

This will have significant demographic implications. A TFR of 1.9 and one of 1.2 have very different impacts on the demographic momentum effect.

I would expect sex-selective abortion to start rearing its ugly head in the Mahgreb, though, once single-child families become common.

S.M. Stirling said...

It's interesting to note that prior to the Industrial Revolution and well into the 19th century, population growth rates tended to be higher in northern Europe than in Southern. Then it reversed for about a century, and it's now back to the original.

S.M. Stirling said...

Emigration and fertility: If Couple X has, say, 1 child instead of 4, their disposable income automatically increases, other things being equal, by some substantial amount relative to someone who decided to have the extra 3 kids.

This would be true without any change in money income, not to mention the increased leisure (children are labor-intensive).

There's also of couse the increased ability of the wife to work outside the household.

Hence their 'economic satisfactions' and sense of progress vs. a vs. their parents will now be greater than they otherwise would.

Hence one would expect that they would be less inclined to emigrate.

S.M. Stirling said...

As a possible indicator of Morocco's future, note that Tunisia's TFR has now fallen to 1.7, and still declining fast.

Algeria's is now 1.89, also a very rapid drop with no end in sight. It was above 6 as recently as the 1980's, IIRC.

Given another decade or so, a plausible hypotheis would be

Tunisia: 1.2
Algeria: 1.5
Morocco: 1.7

At which point, the Mahgrebi countries would become extremely concerned with sub-Saharan immigration to their own countries; they'd be within 20 years or so of commencing population decline, and their median ages would be rising sharply.

At that point I'd also expect only Libya, possibly, in N. Africa to be above replacement level. And only Saudi Arabia and Oman (just) and Yemen still by a considerable margin) in the Arab Middle East.

Experience in the Muslim world shows, I think, that it's relatively easy to knock the TFR down, but very hard to stop it falling once it's well under way. Iran comes to mind for a really startlingly quick transition, taking only a decade. Something true in other contexts as well, of course.

Anonymous said...

At that point I'd also expect only Libya, possibly, in N. Africa to be above replacement level. And only Saudi Arabia and Oman (just) and Yemen still by a considerable margin) in the Arab Middle East.

Saudi Arabia's TFR has a long way to fall before it gets near replacement level. It's currently close to six, I believe. And this is not to mention the fact that Saudi Arabia's extremely traditional society (especially WRT the status of women) may make it more resistant to significant TFR drops than just about anywhere else in the world.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the West Bank and Gaza have extremely high TFR's, level that IINM are found almost nowhere else outside the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. I would imagine, however, that their culture is not as resistant to TFR-reducing change as is Saudi Arabia's.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

Edward said...

Noel.

"but IIRC Jeff Williamson has some thoughts on the issue,"

Yes, he very much does. In fact when I first started to get interested in all of this I found his work very helpful and stimulating. He has a lot of useful papers on his Harvard webpage (link in blog sidebar) especially about Latin American migration to the US and his predictions (now becoming evident) that Sub-Saharan African migration would be the next big wave.

His main point is that migration flows are definitely a non-linear process in the sense that when societies are too poor and have too many children there is little immigration momentum. Migration (on his model) only takes off as the demographic transition gains momentum (or if war, or famine - the 19th century Irish case - give it a big kick from behind).

But then migration tends to peak, and decline as we are discussing.

Williamson's books on 19th century European immigration and late 19th century globalisation processes are also very much to the point, since it is no coincidence I think that the movement of goods and capital rapidly converts into a movement of goods, capital AND people.

"Wages in Morocco should be rising relative to Spain."

This would be the point where I would part company a bit from Williamson (and from Borjas on whose methodology he seems to rely in this context). Obviously wages are an element (one parameter), but I am not at all convinced that migratory movements are that sensitive to wage differentials. Obviously these need to exist, but how important are they really? Even Williamson's own work leaves this an open question as far as I am concerned.

I would say two other factors are far more important: the presence of other migrants from the same region (the networking effect) and the relative availability of work of any kind. It is clearly also important that a large wage differential exists, it is just I am not convinced that the flow is that influenced by small fluctuations in relative wages.

Among other things information in this context is far from perfect. This problem is compounded by the fact that migrants normally rely on other migrants in situ for their information, and these other migrants (for cultural reasons like honour) tend to paint a rather rosy picture (also they tend for the same reason to go back laden with goods, or buy presents like Satellite TV for their families).

The key questions seem to be "is there work", and "can you put me up". IE finding a job and somewhere to live are the main initial preoccupations. Especially since the migrant will travel with limited economic resources and it is important to resolve these issues quickly.

I think it is important to bear in mind that the unskilled and poorly educated migrant has a huge initial inertia NOT to move. This is completely different from the globetrotter syndrome of a modern society. There is a large initial impetus needed to break this inertia, rather like that needed by a spacecraft in escaping the earth's atmosphere.

Family ties tend to be strong in traditional societies, and emotional factors important. This is why so much money is spent in locutorios and other places phoning home (I guess this phenomen must be very evident in the US too).

The first arrivals definitely have the hardest time, after there is a critical mass established the others have it easier. This is why it is virtually impossible to avoid the so-called 'ghetto' phenomenon.

Also, of course the fertility situation is important, since, as we are saying, this influences the local labour market situation due to the sort of dynamics being described here. Again I think the recent Chinese example is interesting, since areas like Guandong are now experiencing difficulties finding a labour supply for the most unskilled work as a small change in the relative numbers and consequent work opportunities in the rural areas now means people are much more reluctant to move.

US exceptionalism is again evident here, since the US labour force is much more mobile, but if you look at Europe (which is probably more globally representative in this sense) there is virtually no movement from the relatively lower wage/higher unemployment southern fringe to places like Holland were work is available and wages are definitely much higher.

"My intuition tells me that unless you've got rising savings and investment rates, then you don't have a boom driven by a fall in the dependent population."

Definitely, this is why the demographic dividend is not automatic, and why 'economics matters' too, but if you get the kind of institutional reforms and modernisation processes which encourage the investment then the changed dependancy ratios facilitate the savings side of the equation in the way Sterling suggests. Again China has not been especially an FDI story, the important thing seems to have been a flow of technology and management skills in one direction (including a steady flow of over-55 Japanese managers released by the Japanese labour market reforms) and a flow of goods in the other. More or less as described by Dooley and co.

Outsourcing from France and Spain to Morocco may well facilitate a lot here (this will provide the technology and the expertise, and it is taking place, Telefonica for example now runs its customer services from Morocco, and Moroccans seem to learn languages relatively easily, certainly many speak either French or Spanish)

You are right that I haven't *proved* my strong argument - I think this is difficulat to do at this stage, and with the resources I personaly have to hand - but I do think I have provided a plausible account of what may well be happening in Morocco. Now we need to watch and wait. (I hope this kind of debate will be an ongoing one, it certainly helps me clarify what I am trying to say).

One last point: I wouldn't at all be surprised to see another change in the pattern of Moroccan migration into Europe. What I am arguing is basically to do with the poor, unskilled and little educated. OTOH more and more Moroccans are staying longer and longer in education (especially the females). There may well be at some stage another mismatch in the labour market with insufficient demand for highly educated workers. This was a phenomenon in Europe back in the 60s (maybe it was a factor in 68) when a rapid increase in the university system and large 'baby boom' cohorts produced more graduates than the system could easily assimilate. If this is the case in Morocco then we should see a steady stream of educated Moroccans (rather like the Indian 'boys on the bench' in California, and these incidentally came largely from Southern Indian states where fertility was falling below replacement), some of whom will stay permanently, and some of whom will go back taking skills and expertise with them.

There are a lot of unknowns here, and even if I am trying to frame a general theory there are always going to be lots of counter examples and details that don't fit. As Hegel once said "theory is grey, but life is green" (you see, I am an old time European at heart :) ).

Edward said...

"My ex complains about Catalan racism --- she's from Mexico. Adrian's partner complains about Catalan ethnocentrism --- she was born in Catalonia to a family of Castillian migrants."

Uff, this is a very big off-topic question, isn't it. What I would say is that this issue is greatly exaggerated, depending....

My guess is that the main problem your 'ex' has is the language. She may well not see why she needs to learn Catalan. This leads to a lot of misunderstanding all round, and is incidentally one of the reasons why people who come from a non-Spanish speaking background may well find it easier to adapt to the specific environment of Catalonia. People from Spanish speaking regions normally get irritated by the fact that this 'extra' language is necessary, in the sense Moroccans, Senegalese, or Pakistanis (yes, there is a very large Pakistani community here in Barcelona, the largest in Europe outside the UK I think) find it easier to 'integrate'.

So this frustration does lead to 'imperfect communication' and that may well be what is being reflected here.

This isn't that different from someone who moves from the US to Quebec. Are the Quebecois racists? I doubt it. Are they trying to protect what they see as there own culture? Probably.

"she was born in Catalonia to a family of Castillian migrants."

I really don't see why this person has any problems whatsoever. If she was born here she will be bilingual. Since the Catalans (unlike the Basques) are not a race but a culture she is virtually indistinguishable from everyone else. Again, maybe she *wants* to speak largely in Spanish (like a lot of Latinos in the US I guess) but in that case she may well be the one with the attitude problem.

If your friend's girlfriend was born here but insists on speaking Spanish when other are speaking Catalan she may well encounter somewhat strained relations. The British don't understand either why someone from, say, Pakistan can have lived in the UK for 15 years and still not speak English.

You have to remember that about half the population of Catalonia are immigrants (or their descendants) from other parts of Spain. Migration inside Spain was massive in the 1960s (following the model being presented here). The vast majority of the Spanish speaking population have now completely adapted and integrated, you only have to look at the virtuall unanimity among the political parties here over the recent Catalan Statute (and which was largely about identitarian issues like the language) to see this.


Are the Catalans racists? I would say no more and no less than anyone else. I am very happy here, and this is partly because I find the people so nice, but this is simply a personal opinion. Certainly Catalans are not aggresive people in any way, and they don't go for extremism, which is why Franco had very little support or sympathy here. Catalan's tend to believe in dialogue, and solving problems by talking about them. This I would say is a national trait.

On your Mexican 'ex', you need to remember that the whole of Spain is slightly racist towards what they call 'sudacas', although in the more modern multicultural environment this is greatly exaggerated as a phenomenon. Probably in the same way that some people in the US still call Latinos 'spics'. I would definitely say, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this kind of thing is less evident in Catalonia than it may be in other parts of Spain.

I hope that answers some part of your question.

Oh, and yes, Visca Catalunya, Visc el Barça!!

Edward said...

Sterling:

"I'd put it down to the deep-cultural similarities between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterraenan."

"When these get impacted by 'macro-modernization' they interact to drive fertility to very low levels."

"Particularly, when education and general opportunities for women expand, they interact with continuing and very strong assumptions about gender roles at the family level to make women chose to cut their reproduction to a very low minimum."

I'm sure you are right in all of this. Cultural factors here are also very important, and especially the gender axis. All this needs looking at in more detail.

"I would expect sex-selective abortion to start rearing its ugly head in the Mahgreb, though, once single-child families become common."

Not sure about this. It depends I think, since we are imagining a much more educated female population in the future the women may not agree, and I think we would both agree that one of the key characteristics of the general fertility decline is that women take more control over their own bodies and the reproductive process in general.

Of course the women themselves may place more value on male offspring, so this is why I think "it depends".

On this aspect it is interesting, if you look at the geohive chart linked in my recent gender post, that there are slightly more women than men in Morocco (99:100). Obviously you have migration and relative life expectancy to think about here, but still, it is significantly different from places like Saudi Arabia. I think the whole Berber cultural pattern is likely to be very different to the Arab one.

Edward said...

"Experience in the Muslim world shows, I think, that it's relatively easy to knock the TFR down, but very hard to stop it falling once it's well under way. Iran comes to mind for a really startlingly quick transition, taking only a decade. Something true in other contexts as well, of course."

Oh, I very much agree, and the Iran situation is particularly worrying in the light of what is happening there on the geopolitical level. This is a country that could very much miss out on the 'demographic dividend' process, and end up pretty much like Russia, with a rapidly declining population and in the hands of an oil-financed mafia.

I think they are about to miss the boat.

Edward said...

Peter

"Elsewhere in the Middle East, the West Bank and Gaza have extremely high TFR's, level that IINM are found almost nowhere else outside the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa."

Again, very much to the point. They are locked in a very negative dynamic. And I would add the little word Afghanistan. Obviously high fertility and a strong male child imbalance (Afghanistan is 107:100, and again remember the life expectancy and migration differentials) provide the perfect breeding ground for terrorist foot-soldiers. Watch out too for Nigeria in the future in this regard, even the oil factor is there.

Edward said...

Incidentally Noel, if you are that interested in the topic of Catalonia, you might like to take a look at some posts I put up on A Fistful of Euros:

Troglodytes Making Waves

and The Catalan Statute

Sparkling Spain

You may or may not approve of what I have to say, but you will find there are comments (a lot of them) to suit all paletes. Have fun :).

Noel Maurer said...

Steve: "I'd put it down to the deep-cultural similarities between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterraenan. When these get impacted by 'macro-modernization' they interact to drive fertility to very low levels."

The above hypothesis sounds quite plausible, but doesn't the Argentine experience falsify it?

Randy said...

Edward:

Arguably Iran's trying not to miss the boat as things stand. On a variety of indices Iran is doing a better job of modernizing than most of its neighbours, while the yawning economic gaps between Iran and its neighbouring countries (Afghanistan, say, or Iraq, or even Central Asia) almost ensures continued immigration. There's a non-trivial immigrant population in Iran already.

Noel:

How perfect was the replication of Mediterranean society in the Southern Cone?

http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/completingfertility/RevisedPantelidespaper.PDF

Pantelides' paper suggests that there are some serious blockages in Argentine society, placing it in a relatively stable high-fertility trap. Is this a good thessi? I yield to the experience and knowledge of others.

Randy said...

S.M. Stirling, Edward:

Not sure about this. It depends I think, since we are imagining a much more educated female population in the future the women may not agree, and I think we would both agree that one of the key characteristics of the general fertility decline is that women take more control over their own bodies and the reproductive process in general.

Has sex-selective abortion manifested itself elsewhere in the Islamic world? Indonesia reportedly has an excess of young men over women, but it's relatively small compared to the situation elsewhere in East Asia.

Peter:

There have been suggestive demographic analyses which suggest that fertility in the Palestinian territories has been systematically overestimated. I've been suspicious of these claims given that the source of these statistics seem to be Israeli nationalists, but their allegations are credible.

Edward said...

Randy,

"Arguably Iran's trying not to miss the boat as things stand. On a variety of indices Iran is doing a better job of modernizing than most of its neighbours"

Well I'd genuinely be grateful if you could fill me in a bit on these indicators, since Iran genuinely worries me.

In the first place I'd like to screen out the geo-political dimension, which is now looming large, and is hard to ignore, but I think that debate belongs in another place or we'll never examine the issues to hand in any meaningful depth.

Now the central question here is the demographic transition (and of course just what we mean by this term, again this is for another post). But one of the issues which has always been central to all the debates about the transition, from all the different viewpoints, is that it isn't just 'demographic', it is also cultural (with the key debates centering round which way the causal arrows point) and has normally been associated with a process called (especially by Easterlin and Caldwell) modernisation. The big issue is what drives what?

Now leaving that issue on one side for the time being, European history in the first half of the 20th century left us with a puzzle (well more than one of course) which has been quietly forgotton or neglected: what exactly happened in Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal? (There is also the little question of what happened in Russia, but I'll come back to that).

How does the evolution of these societies, in the first half of the 20th century fit in with enlightenment-oriented modernisation theory. I mean was it just one damn bad thing after another, or is there some kind of underlying mechanism operating?

Of course those of a thoroughly empirical frame of mind will go for the former option (possibly muttering at the same time something like 'national temperament'), but those who don't find this kind of account satisfying and still manage to maintain the vain hope for developing some kind of operative generalised theory of social and economic development can't help but be puzzled by the phenomenon.

Now back in the 1960s a guy called Barrington Moore wrote a book called 'the social origins of dictatorship and democracy' which was fairly influential and widely discussed at the time. Since then it has fallen very much into oblivion.

Moore's central thesis is that what happened in central and Southern Europe was a kind of 'derailment' of modernisation caused by political gridlock.

I dug the book off my bookshelf a couple of years back a thumbed through it again. Conceptually it is now very dated, but still something about his thesis continues to have appeal: encore ça bouge.

Now in modern social science parlance what Moore was getting at would be something which is now known as 'path dependence'. The evolution of the phenomenon is to some significant extent dependent on its initial conditions, and there is nothing 'automatic' about modernisation.

Of course in the case of the core European societies there was an external 'shock' in the form of WWII and the planets were more or less kicked back into alignment (and in the case of the peripheral societies things simply stagnated, although with the important proviso that this also meant that the transition was also frozen, and fertility did not keep falling - this was all before the arrival of the pill, and sex selective abortion - so when these societies were unfrozen an economic boost was still available from a demographic dividend).

And this all brings us back full square to Iran. Ever since the fall of the Shah Iran has been 'struggling' with its modernisation process. For a time in the late ninetees it did seem that modernisation was taking off again, but then there was a very big and significant 'external shock' and the trajectory was once more altered.

And this time it was at a very critical moment, since it was just at the time when the demographic dividend phenomenon was making its presence felt.

Which brings us back to Russia, which was also another society which went 'off course' and thanks largely to Yalta it took a big part of Eastern and Central Europe with it.

Now as we are frequently discussing here these ex-Eastern Bloc countries are now well past the main momentum of their transition, but they did not get to be modern developed economies in the process, and while some of them are now experiencing very rapid catch-up growth this is taking place in far from ideal demographic circumstances, and their future is, obviously, very much an unknown entity.

Which closes the circle back on Iran. Will Iran suffer the same fate? This is all far from clear, but if the current regime remains in place for another ten years the possibility will arise that the situation may become effectively irreversible.

Sanctions are likely to be placed on Iran within the coming weeks. This can lead to another period of protracted isolation from the western world, and it is anyone's guess how this will all unfold. As I said at the start this comment is not meant as a political one, but rather as a contextual theoretical concern, and I for one am concerned.

Edward said...

Randy,

"Has sex-selective abortion manifested itself elsewhere in the Islamic world?"

Well take a look at the chart of gender balances from geohive linked in the last gender post. You have Saudi Arabia with a ratio of 117:100, Quatar with a ratio of 206:100, Bahrain with a ratio of 132:100, and Kuwait with a ratio of 150:100. Now given that women live longer than men, and given that women in these societies don't tend to out-migrate too much alone, I am at a loss to understand where these ratios come from if it is not from some sort of active gender selection.

This phenomenon is much wider than is normally appreciated. China is the most quoted, but Northern India often isn't very different.

Of course sex selective abortions are a relatively recent example of a very old phenomenon. The anthropologist Hillard Kaplan has a very interesting paper (that I will post on one day) about how many of those early empires which are so famous in the history books were based on sex-selective reproduction (think Sparta, but this isn't an especially isolated case) where 'reproductive effort' was maximised by producing mainly male children, and then 'harvesting' the women and food necessary for ongoing maintenance via outward expansion and conquest. In today's world hopefully that is no longer an option.

Edward said...

Randy,

"Pantelides' paper suggests that there are some serious blockages in Argentine society, placing it in a relatively stable high-fertility trap. Is this a good thessi? I yield to the experience and knowledge of others."

Well I have no more expertise here than you. Marcelo is in Argentina, but he doesn't seem to be around at the moment. I wrote to him recently expressing the view that Argentina did seem to be taking off finally, following in the paths of Chile, but he wasn't buying it, although he did say that this could be simply his natural pessimism about the country (he is Argentinian).

Argentina is such a special cases (and of course theories wouldn't be theories if there weren't special cases all over the place).

In the first place it is normally quote as the classic case of a country that dropped backwards economically across the 20th century.

Then you have the very special political history with Peronism (which for some reason has the name of 'justicialismo).

Basically Perononism lives on a form of clientalism, and the native Argentinians may well be maintained in a situation of artificially high levels of fertility via a system which is known as the 'dadiva', which is essentially a form of political handout which keeps you alive but pooor whilst offering you no real incentive to or way of bettering yourself.

So you have this strange polarisation between a highly educated, creative and sophistocated middle class and a high fertility and poverty striken underclass, and very little in the way of 'proletariat' since there is relatively little in the way of industry.

Argentina is, of course, very much riding the China wave, with the large and productive land area being used to fuel exports of things like soy beans, with the politically influential landed class once more standing between mainstream Argentinians and progress.

This is the sort of argument Marcelo would undoubtedly present, but as he says, it may be unduly pessimistic.

Personally I am struck by the large historic Italian presence there and some similarities between the way things are done in Italy and the way they are done in Argentina. Cultural legacy?? Chile certainly seems to be very different.

S.M. Stirling said...

Peter: "Saudi Arabia's TFR has a long way to fall before it gets near replacement level. It's currently close to six, I believe."

-- no, currently at precisely 4 according to the CIA WFB. It was at 6 quite recently; but then, so was Iran's. (In the 1980's).

"Elsewhere in the Middle East, the West Bank and Gaza have extremely high TFR's"

-- high, but not extremely high. They're often substantially overreported because of reliance on inaccurate PA statistics.

S.M. Stirling said...

Edward: "Not sure about this. It depends I think, since we are imagining a much more educated female population in the future the women may not agree"

-- sex-selective abortion is _positively_ correlated with education, income and urbanization in both India and China, and in India among both Moslems and Hindus.

It's also a serious problem in South Korea and Taiwan, both highly urbanized, well-educated countries.

I think it's a matter of how deeply implanted son-preference is.

It's easier to knock down TFR's than to change the preference for sons; and if you have such a preference and then you have only 1 child, making sure that child is male becomes extremely important.

I'd expect reproductive technology to find other ways to determine gender soon, too.

S.M. Stirling said...

Argentina has had an extremely odd political and economic history in the 20th century, and is only slowly getting back on track.

Up until roughly the early 1930's, it wasn't much different from Australia or Canada in may respects -- with a Latin accent, of course, and one that was as much Italian as creole-Spanish, but still an "unofficial Dominion".

Then came the Depression and Peron, and things went wonky.

It's notable that birth-rates have started to decline again in the past decade, as the country opens up.

S.M. Stirling said...

The "Southern Cone" nations of Latin America are an interesting case. Until the 1950's, they were very much more "developed" (not least in their demographics) than the rest of Latin America, except for southern Brazil, with which they shared a lot of characteristics.

Then trajectories diverged, and now the _demographic_ gap is much less.

Eg., as of 2006 Chile has a TFR of 2, Argentina of 2.14, Uruguay of 1.89, and Brazil of 1.91

Conversely, Bolivia is at 2.85, Peru at 2.51, Ecuador at 2.61, Columbia at 2.54, and Venezuela at 2.23.

These are higher, but not _much_ higher, which they were until recently.

(Only Paraguay, at 3.89, is still fairly high.)

Hence the northern tier of Latin America is showing much more rapid reduction in fertility, but starting much more recently -- crashing fast, rather than drifting down slowly and irregularly.

If present trends continue, the whole of the Americas or at least all the large countries will have fairly similar TFRs soon -- though whether they'll stay in the same range is another matter.

My guess would be that they won't.

Randy said...

Only Paraguay, at 3.89, is still fairly high.

Paraguay is the exception that proves the rule--its rural, Guaraní-speaking, and very poor population is atypical for the Southern Cone.

Randy said...

Edward:

Now given that women live longer than men, and given that women in these societies don't tend to out-migrate too much alone, I am at a loss to understand where these ratios come from if it is not from some sort of active gender selection.

In the cases of the Persian Gulf states, the male populations are accentuated by massive immigration. Something like 50% of Kuwait's population is of immigrant stock, and I'd bet that a disproportionately large share of that population is male.

Edward Hugh said...

"Something like 50% of Kuwait's population is of immigrant stock, and I'd bet that a disproportionately large share of that population is male."

Yes, I was thinking about this, but do they get citizenship? I had the feeling that these were mainly temporary migrant workers. If they weren't they would bring wives wouldn't they?

OTOH they may well be counting these temporary workers. Singapore has a significant part of its official population which is composed of people who are only working there for a limited number of years. This is something that makes Spore particulary sensitive to upturns and downturns in the global economy.

What we need to look at here are live births.

Edward Hugh said...

"What we need to look at here are live births."

OK, I just did. You are right Randy. Kuwait live births are 1.04:1 male:female (CIA factbook). China (for comparison) is 1.12:1. Saudi, surprisingly, is only 1.05:1.

S.M. Stirling said...

You don't seem to get extreme gender imbalances in births until you have _both_ very low fertility _and_ high son-preference.

If fertility is high, people just try again. Where they plant to have only one or two children, they make sure.

Anonymous said...

Migrant workers in the Gulf states do not receive citizenship. And they are disproportionately male. The mirror image of male-heavy UAE is female-heavy Kerala -- the kind of place the male migrant workers come from.

And eventually return to.

MoRocco said...

it is important that morocco economy develops so the number of immigrants will be less.. and with the boom in property and real estate it is expected to be very soon!

Anonymous said...

This article, in my opinion, is full of misconceptions and untruths. And the author's insistance on using words such as "obviously" or "undoubtedly" (those two words must come about 15 times in 30 lines) just stresses how unsure the author actually is about his theories.

There are many points that are open to criticism (and one of the comments pointed out many true facts, such as the fact that no matter how low fertility gets, people still want out if the economy does not pick up. Examples are plentiful: Albania, Mexico, Poland, Sri Lanka...), but I will only comment on one point: the fertility decline in Morocco. Let me say that this decline has been greatly overstated, and many people are getting ahead of themselves when they try to anticipate the future. Indeed the fertility rate declined substantially from the 70s to the 90s (7 to 2.5), but fertility levels have been very much stable for about 10 years now, and nothing indicates when or if the decline will resume. And given the proportion of youths in Morocco, 2.5 means the poplation could keep rising for some time.

If you are not convinced, I suggest you look into Youssef Courbage's much touted 1999 essay about fertility decline in the Maghreb, where he wrongly predicts that fertrility will reach replacement level around 2005 in Morocco and Algeria and will fall to 1.5 in Tunisia.

What has actually hapepned is that fertility in Morocco and Tunisia remained stable, and in Algeria there has been a fertility BOOM since 2005.

So before piling up the "undoubtedly" and "obviously", the author should keep in mind that in social sciences, no trend can ever be predicted for sure.

Thomas

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