Working Paper

The Economics of Investment Migration: The Citizenship and Residence Industry and Economic Outcomes

Published 15 June 2022 / By Kristin Surak

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Introduction

Recent years have seen a proliferation of programs across the globe that allow investors to gain residence or citizenship in a country in exchange for the purchase of real estate, bonds, or businesses, or for a donation to the government. Yet very little research has analyzed their economic operation, including the structure of the transnational network of intermediaries who make the market, as well as the economic impacts of the programs. As a step in this direction, the discussion below first dissects the basic infrastructure of the citizenship and residence industry that undergirds the global market in investment migration, laying out the transnational web of service providers. Next, it turns to the economic dynamics of the programs. In doing this, it addresses important methodological issues to consider when evaluating the economic outcomes of programs and identifies the inaccuracies that emerge when using rough-and-ready calculations. Finally, it draws on statistical work to offer a general comparison of the macroeconomic impact of key schemes, namely the larger citizenship by investment programs globally and the residence by investment programs in the European Union.

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