The Self-Selection of Migrant Workers Revisited
AbstractWork of low-skilled migrant workers from developing countries in developed economies is a growing phenomenon and a key political and economic issue. An extensive literature has found (for the most part) that these workers come from the lower part of the skill distribution. This paper revisits the issue, using a self-selection model, a unique data-set on migrant workers as well as on workers that chose not to migrate (‘stayers’), and direct estimation of the moments of the latent unobserved skill distributions. The main findings are that there are two dimensions to self-selection: in terms of observed skills, a substantial migration premium lures migrant workers, while very low returns to skills in the foreign economy deter skilled workers, leading to negative self-selection. In terms of unobservable skills, self-selection is found to be positive rather than negative. The latter finding entails substantial increases in mean wages and reduction in wage inequality, relative to random assignment and to the alternative of not migrating. The analysis also demonstrates that estimates of skill premia for migrants – an important issue in the immigration literature – are upward biased if selection is not accounted for. Relevant skills are multi-dimensional, hence assignments in this context are non-hierarchical.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1094.
Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Other versions of this item:
- J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
- J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies
- F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-04-04 (All new papers)
- NEP-CWA-2004-04-04 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-LAB-2004-04-04 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Heckman, James J, 1979.
"Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error,"
Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
- Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
- Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Substitution and Division of Labour," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 45(179), pages 235-50, August.
- Christian Dustmann & Costas Meghir, 2001.
"Wages, experience and seniority,"
IFS Working Papers
W01/01, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- George J. Borjas, 1988.
"Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants,"
NBER Working Papers
2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert J. Willis & Sherwin Rosen, 1978.
"Education and Self-Selection,"
NBER Working Papers
0249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joshua D. Angrist, 1995.
"Short-Run Demand for Palestinian Labor,"
95-16, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme L, 1990. "Self-selection and the Distribution of Hourly Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S329-63, January.
- Sarit Cohen-Goldner & Zvi Eckstein, 2008.
"Labor Mobility Of Immigrants: Training, Experience, Language, And Opportunities,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 837-872, 08.
- Cohen-Goldner, Sarit & Eckstein, Zvi, 2002. "Labour Mobility of Immigrants: Training, Experience, Language and Opportunities," CEPR Discussion Papers 3412, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Cohen-Goldner, Sarit & Eckstein, Zvi, 2002. "Labor Mobility of Immigrants: Training, Experience, Language and Opportunities," IZA Discussion Papers 519, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
- Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
- Willis, Robert J., 1987. "Wage determinants: A survey and reinterpretation of human capital earnings functions," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 525-602 Elsevier.
- repec:ilo:ilowps:338944 is not listed on IDEAS
- Eli Berman & Zaur Rzakhanov, 2000. "Fertility, Migration, and Altruism," NBER Working Papers 7545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Klaus Zimmermann, 2007. "The economics of migrant ethnicity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 487-494, July.
- Jennifer Hunt, 2004.
"Are migrants more skilled than non-migrants? Repeat, return, and same-employer migrants,"
Canadian Journal of Economics,
Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 830-849, November.
- Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Are Migrants More Skilled than Non-Migrants? Repeat, Return and Same-Employer Migrants," NBER Working Papers 10633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Are Migrants More Skilled than Non-Migrants?: Repeat, Return and Same-Employer Migrants," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 422, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Milo Bianchi, 2012.
"Immigration Policy and Self-Selecting Migrants,"
- Olmo Silva, 2004. "Entrepreneurship: Can the Jack-of-All-Trades Attitude be Aquired?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0665, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Rachel Sabates-Wheeler & Ricardo Sabates & Adriana Castaldo, 2008. "Tackling Poverty-migration Linkages: Evidence from Ghana and Egypt," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 87(2), pages 307-328, June.
- Anzelika Zaiceva, 2006. "Self-Selection and the Returns to Geographic Mobility: What Can Be Learned from the German Reunification "Experiment"," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 580, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.