Esther Mirjam Girsberger joined UTS in August 2018. She received her PhD in Economics from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). Before joining UTS, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Lausanne.
Her research interests include Development Economics, Labour Economics, Public Economics, Structural and Applied Econometrics.
This paper investigates the impact of regional migration on average wages and wage
inequality in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). We exploit a unique
data from a unified labour force household survey which covers natives and migrants in the
seven economic capitals of the region. We estimate the counterfactual wage distributions of
UEMOA migrants in absence of migration to evaluate the effect of regional migration. We find
that regional migration increases the average wage by 1.8% and it entails a decrease in inequality
in the UEMOA region between -1.5% (for the Gini coefficient) and -4.5% (for the interquartile
ratio). The decrease in inequality in the UEMOA region is driven by a reduction in inequality
between countries, while the migration effect on within-inequality differs across countries and
remains overall small. When accounting for possible general equilibrium effects of migration on
stayers’ wages, we find a similar or even stronger decrease in inequality, yet a smaller increase
in the average wage. With general equilibrium effects, (negatively-)intermediately selected
UEMOA migrants depress the average wage of natives in their host country and lead to a
slight increase of the average wage among natives in the sending country, with the former
effect dominating. Moreover, regional migration in the UEMOA mostly flows from countries
with low wages to countries with higher wages. In combination with the general equilibrium
effects described above this leads to a larger decrease in between-country inequality than in a
setting with exogenous wages.
Lamla, MJ, Straub, M & Girsberger, EM 2014, 'On the economic impact of international sport events: microevidence from survey data at the EURO 2008', Applied Economics, vol. 46, no. 15, pp. 1693-1703.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Using firm-level data for more than 700 Swiss hotels and restaurants, we evaluate the economic impact of the EURO 2008 soccer championship in Switzerland. Although aggregated macrodata do not reveal any sizable economic impact, we report an overall negative effect based on the surveyed companies. Notably the reported effects of the individual firms are very heterogeneous. For instance, hotels in cities benefitted from the tournament as they were able to raise prices and thereby increase sales. Looking at the long-run impact only a small fraction of companies do believe in a positive effect. Interestingly, this outlook does not depend on realized sales, but on the guest structure.
Girsberger, EM, Rinawi, M & Krapf, M 2018, 'Wage and employment dynamics: The role of occupational skills', IZA Discussion Paper No. 11586 (June 2018).
How skills acquired in vocational education and training (VET) affect wages and employment is not clear. We develop and estimate a search and matching model for workers with a VET degree. Workers differ in interpersonal, cognitive and manual skills, while firms require and value different combinations of these skills. Assuming that match productivity exhibits worker-job complementarity, we estimate how interpersonal, cognitive and manual skills map into job offers, unemployment and wages. We find that firms value cognitive skills on average almost twice as much as interpersonal and manual skills, and they prize complementarity in cognitive and interpersonal skills. The average return to VET skills in hourly wages is 9%, similar to the returns to schooling. Furthermore, VET appears to improve labour market opportunities through higher job arrival rate and lower job destruction. Workers thus have large benefits from acquiring a VET degree.
Girsberger, EM 2017, 'Migration, Education and Work Opportunities', IZA Discussion Paper No. 11028 (September 2017).
I study individual location, education and work decisions in a dynamic life-cycle model in a developing country. I estimate the model exploiting panel data on migrants and stayers in Burkina Faso, and cross-sectional data on permanent emigrants. Individuals self-select into migration and locations based on education. Migration to urban centres increases with education, while migrants at the extremes of the education distribution tend to move abroad. Local unemployment rates, skilled work opportunities and returns to education result in differential expected income gains across locations and hereby explain the complex migration pattern observed. Large income gains from migration are partially offset by direct and indirect migration costs, as well as by higher investment in education (for rural migrants). Migration prospects to urban centres drive education choices of rural individuals. Hence, migration policies can be used to stimulate educational attainment in rural regions.
Girsberger, EM & Meango, R 2016, 'The Puzzle of Educated Unemployment in West Africa'.