Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 904: The International Mobility of Billionaires

Tino Sanandaji ()
Additional contact information
Tino Sanandaji: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Relying on Forbes Magazine annual rankings for two decades, 1625 billionaires and their countries of birth and residence are identified, most of whom are self-made entrepreneurs. 13 percent of billionaires reside in a country other than that of their birth. Migration is linked to distance, to cultural ties and to the per capita income of the respective source and host country. Capital taxes have a statistically significant though economically modest effect. 80 percent of those who moved migrated from a lower per capita income to a higher per capita income country and 70 percent from a higher tax country to a lower tax country. Self-made billionaires are more likely to move to countries with larger market sizes. Overall surprisingly few billionaire entrepreneurs migrate. Previous research has found that self-employed tend to work in their home community at higher rates than employees. Entrepreneurship too appears to be local, with private equity be characterized by a home bias. One explanation may be the wide dispersion and local nature of information as emphasized by Hayek.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Migration; Taxes

JEL-codes: F22; H20; L26

Language: English

9 pages, First version: March 6, 2012. Revised: December 2, 2014.

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Published as
Tino Sanandaji, (2014), 'The International Mobility of Billionaires', Small Business Economics, vol 42, no 2, pages 329-338

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