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Featuring Suresh Naidu
Assistant Professor in Economics and International Public Affairs
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
With Discussant Alan De Brauw
Senior Research Fellow, Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division
International Food Policy Research Institute
Globally, migrant workers are often in visa arrangements that tie them to a particular employer, restricting job-to-job transitions and potentially lowering their earnings and efficiency in the labor market. Suresh Naidu will present a new paper, in which he and his co-authors exploit a 2011 reform in the United Arab Emirates that allowed any employer to renew a migrant's visa upon contract expiration without written permission from the worker's initial employer, to examine the reform’s impact on workers. Using data on monthly worker payroll as well as from contracts from the Ministry of Labor, they find that workers are able to earn 10% more in the period after the reform compared to earnings in the period before the reform. They also find that more workers transition between employers and fewer workers return to their home countries, after the reform.