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Self-Selection in Migration and Returns to Skills

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  • Benoit Dostie
  • Pierre Thomas Léger

Abstract

Several papers have tested the empirical validity of the migration models proposed by Borjas (1987) and Borjas, Bronars, and Trejo (1992). However, to our knowledges, none has been able to disentangle the separate impact of observable and unobservable individual characteristics, and their respective returns across different locations, on an individual's decision to migrate. We build a model in which individuals sort, in part, on potential earnings - where earnings across different locations are a function of both observable and unobservable characteristics. We focus on the inter-provincial migration patterns of Canadian physicians. We choose this particular group for several reasons including the fact that they are paid on a fee-for-service basis. Since wage rates are exogenous, earning differentials are driven by differences in productivity. We then estimate a mixed conditional-logit model to determine the effects of individual and destination-specific characteristics (particularly earnings differentials) on physician location decisions. We find, among other things, that high-productivity physicians (based on unobservables) are more likely to migrate to provinces where the productivity premium is greater, while low-productivity physicians are more likely to migrate to areas where the productivity premium is lower. These results are consistent with a modified Borjas model of self-selection in migration based on both unobservables and observables.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0612.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0612

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Related research

Keywords: Migration; Self-Selection; Earnings; Longitudinal Data; Productivity;

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  1. George J. Borjas, 1988. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael Benarroch & Hugh Grant, 2004. "The interprovincial migration of Canadian physicians: does income matter?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(20), pages 2335-2345.
  3. Dionne, Georges & Langlois, Alain & Lemire, Nicole, 1987. "More on the geographical distribution of physicians," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 365-374, December.
  4. Antolin, Pablo & Bover, Olympia, 1997. "Regional Migration in Spain: The Effect of Personal Characteristics and of Unemployment, Wage and House Price Differentials Using Pooled Cross-Sections," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 59(2), pages 215-35, May.
  5. George J. Borjas & Stephen G. Bronars & Stephen J. Trejo, 1992. "Self-Selection and Internal Migration in the United States," NBER Working Papers 4002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Pissarides, Christopher A & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 1989. "Unemployment and the Inter-regional Mobility of Labour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 739-55, September.
  7. 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.
  8. Gary L. Hunt & Richard E. Mueller, 2004. "North American Migration: Returns to Skill, Border Effects, and Mobility Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 988-1007, November.
  9. Satu Nivalainen, 2004. "Determinants of family migration: short moves vs. long moves," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 157-175, February.
  10. Heckman, James J & Walker, James R, 1990. "The Relationship between Wages and Income and the Timing and Spacing of Births: Evidence from Swedish Longitudinal Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1411-41, November.
  11. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1978. "Unionism and Wage Rates: A Simultaneous Equations Model with Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 415-33, June.
  12. Chris Robinson & Nigel Tomes, 1982. "Self-Selection and Interprovincial Migration in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 15(3), pages 474-502, August.
  13. Schlottmann, Alan M & Herzog, Henry W, Jr, 1981. "Employment Status and the Decision to Migrate," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(4), pages 590-98, November.
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