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New insights into the selection process of Mexican migrants.What can we learn from discrepancies between intentions to migrate and actual moves to the U.S.?

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Author Info

  • Isabelle Chort

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

Abstract

Comparing intentions to migrate and actual migration of Mexicans, I intend to assess the impact of unexpected shocks and misevaluated costs on the materialization of migration plans. I show that both sets of reasons may explain discrepancies between intentions and subsequent actions without denying the rationality of intentions by resorting to the theoretical framework of the Roy model. I use intention and migration data from the Mexican Family Life Survey, together with precipitations monthly series, hurricane and crime data to represent different sets of shocks. Correlations between intentions and migration on the one hand, and between intentions and individual labor market characteristics show that intentions are not devoid of informational content. Then, modelling intentions and migration with a bivariate probit, I find that shocks, and in particular rainfall and hurricanes, affect the probability to migrate conditional on initial intentions. The key finding is nonetheless the much lower propensity for women to migrate abroad conditional on intentions, which suggests that women incur specic costs or constraints misestimated at the intention stage. Alternative explanations, such as gendered preferences are discussed, but convergent empirical evidence suggest that women are more constrained than men on the international migration market. Moreover the data suggest that migrants are positively selected with respect to their unobserved characteristics whereas those with intention to migrate abroad are negatively selected. The shift in selection between the two stages of the migration process may be due to the cost reducing effect of individuals' unobserved characteristics that explain their higher local wages. Mots-clés : Migration, Roy model, migrant self-selection, subjective data, shocks, Mexico

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00689467.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00689467

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00689467
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Related research

Keywords: Migration ; Roy Model ; Migrant Self-Selection ; Subjective Data ; Shocks ; Mexico;

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References

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  1. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2000. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," Working Papers 0005, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  2. David McKenzie & Steven Stillman & John Gibson, 2010. "How Important is Selection? Experimental VS. Non‐Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
  3. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G, 1991. "Immigration and the Family," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 123-48, April.
  4. Pablo Ibarraran & Darren Lubotsky, 2005. "Mexican Immigration and Self-Selection: New Evidence from the 2000 Mexican Census," NBER Working Papers 11456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "Self-Selection Patterns in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Role of Migration Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 811-821, November.
  6. Vincenzo CAPONI, 2010. "Heterogeneous Human Capital and Migration: Who Migrates from Mexico to the us?," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 97-98, pages 207-234.
  7. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(4), pages 869-924, December.
  8. David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2006. "How Important is Selection? Experimental vs Non-experimental Measures of the Income Gains of Migration," Working Papers 06_02, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  9. repec:wop:humbsf:1998-3 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
  11. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2002. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," NBER Working Papers 9242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
  13. Dalen, H.P. van & Henkens, K., 2008. "Emigration Intentions: Mere Words or True Plans? Explaining International Migration Intentions and Behavior," Discussion Paper 2008-60, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  14. McKenzie, David & Sasin, Marcin J., 2007. "Migration, remittances, poverty, and human capital : conceptual and empirical challenges," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4272, The World Bank.
  15. Michael C. Burda & Wolfgang Härdle & Marlene Müller & Axel Werwatz, 1998. "Semiparametric analysis of German East-West migration intentions: facts and theory," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 525-541.
  16. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2009. "The international transferability of immigrants' human capital," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 162-169, April.
  17. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
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