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Who Leaves? Deciphering Immigrant Self-Selection from a Developing Country

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  • Randall Akee

Abstract

Abstract: Using a novel data set from a developing country, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), I analyze an emigration flow to the United States that has no legal barriers to entry and contains detailed information on the immigrant at home and in the United States. I find that highly educated workers (relative to the home country average) have the highest likelihood of migrating from the FSM to the United States. I also compare the premigration wages for the migrants and an observationally equivalent matched nonmigrant group and find that there is a positive and statistically significant difference between the two groups, indicating that immigrants are also positively selected on unobserved characteristics. The observed selection is consistent with the relatively large differences in home country and destination skill prices at the highest skill levels. Information on the immigrants' characteristics before migration is central to my analysis of determining the nature of immigrant self-selection on both observable and unobservable characteristics. These results are informative of the self-selection of immigration from a small developing country when legal immigration restrictions are removed. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 58 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (01)
Pages: 323-344

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:58:y:2010:i:2:p:323-344

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/EDCC/

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Cited by:
  1. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2010. "Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," Discussion Papers 09-029, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  2. Batista, Catia & Lacuesta, Aitor & Vicente, Pedro C., 2007. "Brain Drain or Brain Gain? Micro Evidence from an African Success Story," IZA Discussion Papers 3035, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Emmanuelle Auriol & Alice Mesnard, 2012. "Sale of Visas: A Smuggler’s Final Song?," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012007, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  4. Batista, Catia & Lacuesta, Aitor & Vicente, Pedro C., 2012. "Testing the ‘brain gain’ hypothesis: Micro evidence from Cape Verde," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 32-45.
  5. Gharad Bryan & Shyamal Chowdhury & A. Mushfiq Mobarak, 2011. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," Working Papers id:4650, eSocialSciences.
  6. Catia Batista & Aitor Lacuesta & Pedro Vicente, 2009. "Micro evidence of the brain gain hypothesis: The case of Cape Verde," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0902, Banco de Espa�a.
  7. Gould, Eric D & Moav, Omer, 2008. "When is "Too Much" Inequality Not Enough? The Selection of Israeli Emigrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 6955, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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