Setting the bar - an experimental investigation of immigration requirements

Menusch Khadjavi*, Jasper D. Tjaden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We examine determinants of immigration requirements in a public goods game experiment with endogenous groups. Initially, the game consists of in-group players who enjoy an existing public good and out-group players who may subsequently enter the group. Motivated by different current migration flows and anti-immigration sentiments, our treatments are crafted to investigate how migrants’ power of self-determination and public debate among in-group players shape immigration requirements. We employ the minimal group paradigm and immigration requirements are set by in-group voting. In order to immigrate, out-group players have to fulfill minimal contribution requirements. Public debate fosters coherence between the requirements and in-group players’ contributions if migrants are free to reject requirements. Conversely, public debate among in-group players fosters economic exploitation of migrants with less bargaining power. Overall the study illustrates the novel potential of applying well-established tools from experimental economics to migration questions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


We gratefully acknowledge funding for our experiment by the Department of Economics at the University of Hamburg. We thank Tim Cason, James Konow, Andreas Lange, Karim Sadrieh, two anonymous referees and audiences at several conferences for providing very helpful comments.

FundersFunder number
Universität Hamburg


    • Endogenous groups
    • Experiment
    • Immigration
    • Public good
    • Voting


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