How Important Is Selection? Experimental vs. Non-Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration
AbstractMeasuring the gain in income from migration is complicated by non-random selection of migrants from the general population, making it hard to obtain an appropriate comparison group of non-migrants. This paper uses a migrant lottery to overcome this problem, providing an experimental measure of the income gains from migration. New Zealand allows a quota of Tongans to immigrate each year with a lottery used to choose amongst the excess number of applicants. A unique survey conducted by the authors in these two countries allows experimental estimates of the income gains from migration to be obtained by comparing the incomes of migrants to those who applied to migrate, but whose names were not drawn in the lottery, after allowing for the effect of noncompliance among some of those whose names were drawn. We also conducted a survey of individuals who did not apply for the lottery. Comparing this non-applicant group to the migrants enables assessment of the degree to which non-experimental methods can provide an unbiased estimate of the income gains from migration. We find evidence of migrants being positively selected in terms of both observed and unobserved skills. As a result, non-experimental methods are found to overstate the gains from migration, by 9 to 82 percent. A good instrumental variable works best, while difference-in-differences and bias-adjusted propensity-score matching also perform comparatively well.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2087.
Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of the European Economic Association, 2010, 8(4), 913-945
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Other versions of this item:
- David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2010. "How Important Is Selection? Experimental vs. Non-Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
- 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.
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
- F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
- C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-04-29 (All new papers)
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.:
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