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The Returns to Temporary Migration to the United States: Evidence from the Mexican Urban Employment Survey

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  • Benjamin Aleman-Castilla
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    Abstract

    Mexican migration to the United States has been a very important issue throughout the twentieth century, and its relevance has reached unprecedented levels during the last two decades. Even though there is a huge body of literature that analyses many different aspects of this phenomenon, the economic performance of migrants with respect to the Mexican labour markets has received very little attention. This paper aims at filling this gap by presenting new evidence on the effect that migration to the United States has on labour market outcomes of Mexican workers. It uses data from the Mexican National Survey of Urban Labour (ENEU) for the period 1994-2002. Among other advantages, the panel structure of the survey is ideal for minimizing the problems of self-selection bias that are common in most of the alternative data sources. Fixed-effects estimation indicates that Mexican workers that migrate temporarily to the United States obtain significantly higher earnings in the U.S. labour market than in the Mexican one during the period of migration. They also tend to work longer hours and face a generally higher likelihood of non employment during the period of return migration. Finally, the gains from temporary migration are lower for more skilled workers and for those migrating from the most distant regions in Mexico, relative to the United States.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0804.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0804

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    Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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    Keywords: temporary migration; real wages; labour supply;

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    1. Frank Bean & Rodolfo Corona & Rodolfo Tuiran & Karen Woodrow-Lafield & Jennifer Hook, 2001. "Circular, invisible, and ambiguous migrants: Components of difference in estimates of the number of unauthorized Mexican migrants in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 411-422, August.
    2. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
    3. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 239-281, April.
    4. Dustmann, Christian & Kirchkamp, Oliver, 2000. "The Optimal Migration Duration and Activity Choice after Re-migration," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 00-39, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universit├Ąt Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    5. George J. Borjas & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 13-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Benjamin Aleman-Castilla, 2006. "The Effect of Trade Liberalization on Informality and Wages: Evidence from Mexico," CEP Discussion Papers dp0763, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Avi Weiss & Arye L. Hillman & Gil S. Epstein, 1999. "Creating illegal immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 3-21.
    8. Dustmann, C, 1993. "Earnings Adjustment of Temporary Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 153-68, May.
    9. James R. Markusen & Stephen Zahniser, 1997. "Liberalization and Incentives for Labor Migration: Theory with Applications to NAFTA," NBER Working Papers 6232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. George J. Borjas, 1982. "The earnings of male hispanic immigrants in the United States," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(3), pages 343-353, April.
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