Working Paper

The Import of “Cultural Goods” and Emigration: an Unexplored Relation

EUI Working Papers, RSCAS 2017/24 Download


The paper examines the effect of the import of cultural goods as defined by UNESCO (2009): cultural heritage, performance, visual arts, books, audio-visual material and design on emigration decisions. The import of cultural goods, by affecting individual preferences, reduces the cost of any migration move and favors outflows towards exporting countries. A gravity model for 33 OECD destination countries and 184 sending ones has been estimated for the period 2009-2013. The issue of identification and endogeneity has been addressed through the inclusion of a comprehensive set of fixed effects and by instrumenting cultural imports with past flows and an imputed share of cultural imports à la Card (2001). The positive relationship is robust across different classifications for cultural goods, areas of destination and alternative econometric techniques.