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Selection Criteria and the Skill Composition of Immigrants: A Comparative Analysis of Australian and U.S. Employment Immigration

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Author Info

  • Jasso, Guillermina

    ()
    (New York University)

  • Rosenzweig, Mark R.

    ()
    (Yale University)

Abstract

This paper uses survey data on employment immigrants in Australia and the United States to identify the main determinants of the size and skill composition of employment immigrants to developed countries. Our approach emphasizes the key roles of world prices of skills and country proximity. Our empirical results are consistent with the view that these factors, rather than the nuances of selection systems, dominate. There are five main findings: (1) Higher skill prices in sending countries decrease the number of immigrants but increase their average schooling. (2) More-distant countries send fewer but more skilled immigrants. (3) Given skill prices and proximity, countries with higher income send more immigrants, of lower skill. (4) Within a sending country, Australia attracts less total but higher-skill migrants than does the United States. This can be attributed, however, to the fact that the skill price in Australia is lower than the U.S. skill price, so that immigration gains are greater from immigrating to United States. (5) The estimated coefficients determining migration flows to Australia and the United States are the same for both countries. We conclude that geography thus matters in the sense that who a country’s neighbors are, in terms of their level and type of development, has a significant effect on the size and skill composition of employment migrants. There is no evidence that the differences in the selection mechanism used to screen employment migrants in the two countries play a significant role in affecting the characteristics of skill migration.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3564.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Jagdish Bhagwati and Gordon H. Hanson (eds.), Skilled Migration Today: Phenomenon, Prospects, Problems, Policies. New York: Oxford, 2009
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3564

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Related research

Keywords: immigrant selection criteria; skill prices; country proximity; globalization; employment immigration; highly skilled immigration; immigration policy;

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References

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  1. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Lee, J.-W. & Barro, R.J., 1998. "Schooling Quality in a Cross Section of Countries," Papers, Harvard - Institute for International Development 659, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  4. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
  5. Guillermina Jasso & Douglas Massey & Mark Rosenzweig & James Smith, 2000. "The new immigrant survey pilot (NIS-P): Overview and new findings about U.S. Legal immigrants at admission," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 127-138, February.
  6. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1994. "Economic Impact of International Migrationand the Economic Performance of Migrants," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State 96, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  7. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
  8. Jasso, Guillermina & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 298-304, March.
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