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New Evidence on Emigrant Selection

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Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which Mexican emigrants to the United States are negatively selected, that is, have lower skills than individuals who remain in Mexico. Previous studies have been limited by the lack of nationally representative longitudinal data. This one uses a newly available household survey, which identifies emigrants before they leave and allows a direct comparison to non-migrants. I find that, on average, US bound Mexican emigrants from 2000 to 2004 earn a lower wage and have less schooling years than individuals who remain in Mexico, evidence of negative selection. This supports the original hypothesis of Borjas (AER, 1987) and argues against recent findings, notably those of Chiquiar and Hanson (JPE, 2005). The discrepancy with the latter is primarily due to an under-count of unskilled migrants in US sources and secondarily to the omission of unobservables in their methodology.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 742.08.

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Length: 59
Date of creation: 10 Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:742.08

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Keywords: international migration; selection; household survey;

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References

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  1. David Mckenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2004. "Network Effects and the Dynamics of Migration and Inequality: Theory and Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers 2004-3, Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University.
  2. Caponi, Vincenzo, 2006. "Heterogeneous Human Capital and Migration: Who Migrates from Mexico to the US?," IZA Discussion Papers 2446, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Raymond Robertson, 2000. "Wage Shocks and North American Labor-Market Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 742-764, September.
  4. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2005. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 215-240, October.
  5. Murray Leibbrandt & James Levinsohn & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Incomes in South Africa Since the Fall of Apartheid," NBER Working Papers 11384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Angelucci, Manuela, 2005. "U.S. Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 1642, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Borjas, George J, 1990. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 305-08, March.
  8. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
  9. Gathmann, Christina, 2008. "Effects of enforcement on illegal markets: Evidence from migrant smuggling along the southwestern border," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1926-1941, October.
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