Mauro Lanati

Research Fellow
  • Phone: +39 055 4685 889
  • Mauro Lanati is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the MEDAM Project at the Migration Policy Centre (RSCAS,EUI) and a former Max Weber Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (EUI). He is an economist whose areas of interest cover theoretical and empirical aspects of Development Economics, International Trade and Migration. Mauro’s current research explores the links between foreign aid, cultural linkages and migration decisions. His research appears in international academic journals such as World Development, Economics of Education Review and The World Economy. Lanati earned a PhD in Economics “Doctor Europaeus” at the University of Pisa with a thesis on the link between International Trade and Migration, whose first chapter was written while he was a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia. His job market paper – which investigates the link between skill of migrants and quality of trade – was published in The World Economy. Mauro has participated in several research projects on development finance and migration studies for many international institutions, such as FERDI in Clermont-Ferrand (France) and IEMED in Barcelona (Spain). Some of these collaborations culminated in recent publications in volumes, such as ‘Financing development in risky contexts’ in Financing sustainable development by addressing vulnerabilities (2015) edited by Boussichas, M., and Guillaumont, P. and published by FERDI in collaboration with the EUI and EIDIH.

    Works in Progress

    Aid for health, income growth, and the emigration of health personnel (with Rainer Thiele)

    Debates on the extent to which developing countries suffer from a brain drain often focus on the emigration of locally scarce health personnel. In this paper, we empirically examine how two potential determinants - aid for health and local income levels - affect emigration rates of doctors and nurses from developing countries. Considering these two variables jointly constitutes one key novelty of our analysis. A further contribution to the literature is that we explicitly test whether aid for health might provide an incentive for health workers to stay in their country of origin through improvements in local health infrastructure. We show that aid for health is negatively associated with emigration of both nurses and doctors. The quantitative impact is moderate but non-negligible: A doubling of the volume of foreign assistance in the health sector received by developing countries lowers emigration rates of health personnel by around 10%. As concerns the mechanisms behind this relationship, our findings suggest that foreign assistance influences emigration decisions of doctors and nurses through improvements in health infrastructure and health care services such as the percentage of vaccinated children. In addition, we find that higher income per capita is also associated with lower emigration from developing countries. This holds for doctors and nurses alike. Given that nurses typically belong to the poorer segments of populations in countries of origin, we can conclude that even at low initial income levels rising incomes on balance provide an incentive to stay rather than enabling a rising share of the populations to finance migration costs as argued in the previous literature.

    Aid and Internal Migration in Malawi (with M. Sanfilippo and F. Santi)

    This paper uses geographically disaggregated data to investigate the role of aid projects as a pull factor for internal migration in Malawi over the period 1998-2008. We explore the link between aid and internal mobility using a PPML estimator and an IV approach based on a gravity model of migration. Controlling for dyadic factors – such as geographical and cultural proximity - as well as for origin-specific characteristics, we find a positive relationship between the number of aid projects in the district of destination and immigration. We also dig deeper into the mechanisms exploring which types of foreign aid shape migration decisions and through which channels. Taken together, our results show that the positive welfare effects of foreign assistance manifest themselves not only through a (modest) rise in economic activities, but also through an improved quality and supply of local public services in recipient districts.



    Research topics: Determinants of Migration, Foreign Aid, International Trade
    Geographic areas: All areas
    ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9411-6845

    Articles in Refereed Journals
  • Lanati M, Thiele R (2020). International Student Flows from Developing Countries: Do Donors Have an Impact? Economics of Education Review, vol. 77, ISSN: 0272-7757
  • Lanati M, Thiele R (2020). Foreign Assistance and Emigration: Accounting for the Role of Non-Transferred Aid. The World Economy, vol. 43, p.1951–1976, ISSN: 0378-5920
  • Lanati M, Thiele R (2018). The Impact of Foreign Aid on Migration Revisited. World Development, vol. 111, p. 59-74, ISSN: 0305-750X
  • Lanati M, Thiele R (2018). Foreign assistance and migration choices: Disentangling the channels. Economics Letters, vol. 172, p. 148-151, ISSN: 0165-1765
  • Giovannetti G, Lanati M (2017). Do High‐Skill Immigrants trigger High‐Quality Trade? The World Economy, vol. 40, p. 1345-1380, ISSN: 0378-5920

  • Book Chapters
  • Giovannetti G, Lanati M, Venturini A (2019). Migration and Trade in the Mediterranean. In: Salvatore Capasso, Eugenia Ferragina. Mediterranean Migration and the Labour Markets Policies for Growth and Social Development in the Mediterranean Area, Routledge. p. 224-237, ISBN: 9781138557345
  • Lanati M, Giovannetti G (2015). Financing Development in Risky Contexts. In: Financing Sustainable Development: Addressing Vulnerabilities. Boussichas, M., and Guillaumont, P. (dir.), Ferdi, Economica, Paris. p. 35-58, ISBN: 9781138794313
  • Lanati M, Giovannetti G (2015). Migration and Development: Lessons from Africa. In: Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies, Oxford University Press, Edited by Anna Triandafyllidou (EUI). p. 236-242, ISBN: 978-2-7178-6852-4

  • Working Papers
  • Kaushal N. Lanati M. (2019), International Student Mobility: Growth and Dispersion, NBER Working Paper No. 25921, Submitted to Journal
  • Lanati M. (2019), Ideological Conditionality of Foreign Aid during the Cold War: Did Western Allies Follow the US?, EUI RSCAS Working Paper N. 2019/54
  • Lanati M. Venturini A. (2018) Cultural Change and The Migration Choice, IZA DP Discussion Paper No. 11415, Revise & Resubmit (Review of World Economics)
  • Fiorini M. Giovannetti G.  Lanati M.  Santi F.  (2018) Asymmetric Cultural Proximity and Greenfield FDI   Development Working Papers 434, Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, University of Milano, Revise & Resubmit (The World Economy)

  • Reports
  • Lanati R. Thiele (2018) How Donors Respond to Refugee Movements, P.109-115, 2018 MEDAM Assessment Report
  • Lanati R. Thiele (2017) Can Foreign Aid Affect Migration Decisions? P.77-80, 2017 MEDAM Assessment Report
  • Lanati G. Giovannetti (2015), The indirect pro-trade effects of Indian ethnic networks, DEMO-India Research Report, Thematic Report, 2015/14
  • Giovannetti, M. Lanati (2014), The Importance of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Potential Drawbacks for Mediterranean Countries, IEMed Mediterranean Yearbook 2014

  • Blog Posts and Policy Writings
  • Lanati M. Recchi E. Search-and-Rescue Operations in the Mediterranean: Are they a ‘pull factor’ for sea crossings of migrants?, MPC Blog Post, January 2020
  • Lanati M. Thiele R. The Complex Effects of Development Aid on Migration, News Deeply, December 2018.
  • Lanati M. Thiele R. The impact of foreign aid on migration revisited, MPC Blog Post, June 2017