Information, Intermediaries, and International Migration

We conducted a randomized trial in Indonesia to study how information about labour intermediary quality shapes migration behaviour. All else equal, intermediary-specific quality disclosure reduces the migration rate, cutting use of low-quality providers. Those who do migrate receive better pre-departure preparation and have improved experiences abroad. These results are not driven by changes in beliefs; nor does selection explain improved outcomes for those who migrate with quality disclosure. Our findings are consistent with an increase in the option value of search: with better ability to screen offers, workers search longer, select better intermediaries, and have better migration

Written with Samuel Bazzi (UC San Diego, NBER, and CEPR), Lisa Cameron (University of Melbourne), and Firman Witoelar (Australian National University)

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