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On Migrant Selectivity

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Author Info

  • Eric R. Jensen

    ()
    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • Sarah M. Gale

    ()
    (Accenture)

  • Paul E. Charpentier

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin)

Abstract

Recent migrants to the United States have displayed lower earnings levels and a slower rate of earnings convergence with natives than previous immigrants. Borjas has argued that this reflects negative selectivity of immigrants; others, including Card, Chiquiar and Hanson, and Duleep and Regets, question this contention. Some of the ambiguity is due to measurement problems, with educational attainment (or its labor market consequences) used in place of unobserved migrant quality. We suggest that constraints in the supply of education in sending regions significantly limit the usefulness of educational attainment or related measures as proxies for migrant quality. We propose an alternative measure of migrant quality that incorporates education supply constraints, and present evidence of Mexican migrants self-selecting positively on ability.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 32.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 13 Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:32

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  1. David Card, 2004. "Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0402, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. Mark C. Regets & Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 1999. "Immigrants and Human-Capital Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 186-191, May.
  3. Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
  4. 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.
  5. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  6. Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 147, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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