Policy Statement
Amelie F. Constant
February 2016

As a labor economist, I apply principles of labor, perspectives and frameworks while I employ econometric techniques to carefully derive conclusions from sound data sources. My basic motive for research is to choose topics of societal and policy relevance and answer questions that can eventually improve the conditions of minority populations, the marginalized and vulnerable, that they can add to our knowledge, and can be useful to policymakers and the public. I am a strong believer of evidence-based policymaking.

I have au(co)thored several papers that are directly related to important policy issues. My work on return migration and circular migration has direct policy implications. In these papers I show that the immigrants who return to their home countries are those who are naturalized or have a permanent residency. Similarly, the circular migrants are those who know that if situations change and economic conditions are not good in the country they are, they are able to go back to the other country. It is the immigrants who have a precarious status in the host country who are more likely to stay, because they know that if they leave they will not be able to go back to the host country. My work on the ethnic identity of immigrants, shows that immigrants who are “integrated,” meaning they are confortable having both the home and host country identity and culture are more like to work and be productive members of the labor market, especially women.

I have also done extensive research on self-employment and entrepreneurship. Self-employment is often called the backbone of the economy, as small and medium enterprises contribute to job creation much more than big corporations. Immigrants are definitely involved and well represented in self-employment is all countries and in most cases they earn more than the paid-employed and their native counterparts. My work shows how self-employment is related to the business cycle, and makes a case about the importance of self-employment for economic growth and innovation.

My paper “Sizing it Up: Labor Migration Lessons of the EU Expansion to 27,” (2012) reviews the achievements of the first five years of the EU27 and assesses and evaluates the effectiveness of the enforced policies while it identifies winner and losers. I show that the EU15 countries with closed-door policy lost in high-skilled labor and their labor markets experienced a delayed adjustment that overlapped with the global crisis and exacerbated negativity. Another example of policy applications is my work on the health of immigrants. My papers find that there is a “healthy immigrant effect,” meaning that when immigrants first arrive in the host country are more healthy than comporable natives, but with additional time in the host country their health deteriorates. The exception is the case of Israel, where I find a “sick immigrant effect.” The explanation lies in the selection of immigrants and the immigrantion policy of Israel that imposes no barriers to Jews who want to go to Israel.

My most recent work on happiness or wellbeing is also important for policy. First, because happiness can be an indication of a country’s high standards and socioeconomic status, beyond GDP. Second, because governments can manipulate the happiness of their citizens, third, bacause happiness is very much related to economic growth and inequality, and fourth because of my findings. My papers show that i. when the immigration rate increases, the happiness of natives increases and ii. when ethnic diversity increases, the happiness of natives increases. Lastly, my World of Labor article “Do immigrants take the jobs of natives?” is the number two downloaded article out of 300. In this paper I summarize the theory, present an exhaustive literature review of the results for several countries and go over the pros and cons of immigration.

I have also authored several policy papers and briefs that have been topical, exmining current issues. For example, my policy paper “In the Face of the Crisis: U.S. Presidential Elections from a Transnational Viewpoint” in DIW-Wochenbericht (2008), was among the very first that used Google activity data for research and emphasized the digital economy. In this work, I examined the economic crisis and the US elections. “Trade-race in Asia: The Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and the EU with South Korea” in DIW-Wochenbericht (2010), was a paper a propos of the trade agreement and received praise by the Korean Ambassador to Germany. Another policy brief I wrote about Cote d’Ivoire (2011) looks at the first 100 days of the new government in power and what the consequencies are (Surviving the Turbulence Is Not Enough; Can Côte d’Ivoire Flourish Again?). In addition, a report I wrote for IOM (2013) about how to improve access to labour market information for migrants and employers in Germany was the first to examine the issue; there was no prior literature. My paper about human capital in China (Can China Win the Tug-of-War for Talents?) is related to development issues in emerging countries.

Over the years, while an academician, researcher, and a professor I had the privilege and the opportunity to meet in person and communicate with policymakers and decision-makers in several countries. I also have given talks, keynotes, and interviews at the World Bank, the ILO, the IOM, etc. and I have had meetings with several members of the Council of Economic Advisers and government officials at the BLS and the department of labor. Below I highlight specific meetings with high ranking policymakers.

In early 2006, I had a meeting with the then director of GAO, who had an interest in learning about my work on the guestworkers in Germany and the possible applications to a US guestworker system. We also discussed the problems and goals of German and American immigration and integration policies
In 2007, I was in a panel at the Capitol Hill talking about migration in “Securing Our Nation’s Future”
In 2007, at a conference in Brussels with ministers, the High Commissioner, the President of the EU Commission, and members of the High Level Group present, I presented my report on the social and labor market integration of ethnic minorities
In 2008, at a lunchtime meeting in Berlin with the former German Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, I talked about ethnic minorities in Germany and the EU and how to integrate and make immigrants more productive
In 2007 and 2008, I gave lectures about the functioning of the European labor markets at the Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State
In 2009 and 2010, I gave lectures to the USAID Program “International Education on the US Non-Profits to Central Asian Countries”
In 2011, I presented at a symposium in Athens, GR, with Greek Ministers present my paper “Prescription for Greece’s Exodus from the Current Crisis”
In 2012, I presented “Youth Unemployment and Vocational Training” to the Treasury in Wellington, NZ and talked about vocational training in Germany as a successful instrument against youth unemployment  
In 2014, I presented my report on Diasporas in the European Union and United States, to the EU Commission and other policymakers in Brussels
In 2015, I participated in a policy meeting with the European Commission in Brussels on migration and mobility, to present my research
In 2015, I joined the experts dinner with three parliamentarians in Brussels to discuss migration issues in Europe and Brexit
In 2015, in Dakar, Senegal, I had talks and meetings with the Secretary of the Senegalese Diaspora about the challenges for African migration to Europe. During the day-long symposium, I also had talks with the Minister Adviser to the President of the Republic of Senegal for the Francophonie, the former Minister for Women's, Children's and Family Affairs of the Republic of Senegal, and the Representative of the Migration and Development Project in Africa about the labor markets and economic development
In March 2016, I will be meeting with the Productivity Commission– that provides independent research and advice to Government on economic, social and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians – in Canberra, Australia to discuss immigration issues and contribute to their report