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Two Decades of Negative Educational Selectivity of Mexican Migrants to the United States

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  • Michael S. Rendall

    ()
    (University of Maryland)

  • Susan W. Parker

    (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas)

Abstract

Immigration is commonly considered to be selective of more able individuals. Studies comparing the educational attainment of Mexican immigrants in the United States to that of the Mexican resident population support this characterization. Upward educational attainment biases in both coverage and measurement, however, may be substantial in U.S. data sources. Moreover, differences in educational attainment by place size are very large within Mexico, and U.S. data sources provide no information on immigrants’ places of origin within Mexico. To address these problems, we use multiple sources of nationally-representative Mexican survey data to re-evaluate the educational selectivity of labor-force-age Mexican migrants to the United States over the 1990s and 2000s. We document disproportionately rural and small-urban-area origins of Mexican migrants and a steep positive gradient of educational attainment by place size. We show that together these conditions induced strongly negative educational selection of Mexican migrants throughout the 1990s and 2000s. We interpret this finding as consistent with low returns to the education of unauthorized migrants and few opportunities for authorized migration.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 1328.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1328

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  1. Heather Antecol & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Stephen J. Trejo, 2003. "Immigration Policy and the Skills of Immigrants to Australia, Canada, and the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
  2. Mariya Aleksynska & Ahmed Tritah, 2011. "Occupation-Education Mismatch of Immigrant Workers in Europe: Context and Policies," Working Papers 2011-16, CEPII research center.
  3. Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Bauer, Thomas K. & Pereira, Pedro T. & Vogler, Michael & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 1998. "Portuguese Migrants in the German Labor Market: Performance and Self-Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 20, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Belot, Michèle & Hatton, Timothy J., 2008. "Immigrant Selection in The OECD," CEPR Discussion Papers 6675, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Susan Pozo, 2006. "Remittances as insurance: evidence from Mexican immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 227-254, June.
  7. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni, 2007. "Immigration Policy, Self-selection, and the Quality of Immigrants," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 869-877, November.
  8. Milo Bianchi, 2012. "Immigration Policy and Self-Selecting Migrants," Working Papers halshs-00670037, HAL.
  9. Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "Income Maximization and the Selection and Sorting of International Migrants," NBER Working Papers 13821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Pablo Ibarraran & Darren Lubotsky, 2007. "Mexican Immigration and Self-Selection: New Evidence from the 2000 Mexican Census," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 159-192 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jesúús Fernández-Huertas Moraga, 2011. "New Evidence on Emigrant Selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 72-96, February.
  12. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Assimilation and Changes in Cohort Quality Revisited: What Happened to Immigrant Earnings in the 1980s?," NBER Working Papers 4866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Cynthia Feliciano, 2005. "Educational selectivity in U.S. Immigration: How do immigrants compare to those left behind?," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 131-152, February.
  15. Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz, 1999. "Undocumented workers in the labor market: An analysis of the earnings of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 91-116.
  16. Thomas Liebig & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2004. "Migration, Self-Selection and Income Inequality: An International Analysis," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 125-146, 02.
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