Working Paper
Return International Migration and Geographical Inequality

The Case of Egypt

This paper explores entrepreneurship amongst return migrants, how their business locations and characteristics differ from other businesses, and the implications for rural-urban inequality. First, we examine, amongst returnees, the determinants of investment in a project/enterprise. Second, we study the impact of return migration on the characteristics and nature of non-farm small enterprises using a sample of return migrants and non-migrant owners of enterprises. Our data indicate that although the share of return migrants originating in urban areas is almost equal to those from rural areas, and that migrants tend to return to their origin region, urban areas benefit more than rural areas from international savings. The empirical evidence suggests that overseas savings, and the duration of stay overseas, have positive separate effects on the probability of investing in a project/enterprise amongst returnees. Furthermore, returnees from urban-origin are more likely than rural ones to invest in a non-farm enterprise. The findings also indicate that there is a regional bias in the location of firms and jobs created by returnees compared to non-migrants, in favour of the capital city. Thus, overall, the results support a positive impact of return migration on enterprise investment in urban areas driven by the preference of returnees to invest in urban areas.