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Heterogeneous Human Capital and Migration: Who Migrates from Mexico to the us?

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  • Vincenzo Caponi

Abstract

This paper first provides evidence of a U-shaped relationship between education and migration among Mexicans. That is, by comparing cohorts of Mexicans who migrated to the US with the same cohorts residing in Mexico it is shown that the highest and lowest educated tend to migrate more than the middle educated. A model is presented that is capable of reproducing this relationship. The model assumes that individuals are endowed with heterogeneous levels of human capital. These levels are determined partly by an intergenerational transmission from their parents and partly by an investment on education also made by their parents. Migration decisions are driven mainly by two forces. On the one hand, there is a progressive loss of human capital faced by immigrants, due to its imperfect transferability. On the other hand, the altruism towards future generations together with the transmission of human capital drives the positive relationship. Finally, the model is calibrated to match relevant moments from the Mexican and US, Censuses and used for policy evaluation. First, the long run effect of the Mexican government run Oportunidades program on the average human capital accumulation among Mexican migrants and non-migrants is evaluated. Second, a US government run restrictive policy, intended to make immigration more difficult, is also evaluated. Overall, the evaluation suggests that Hue Oportunidades program has effects that are more desirable on the migrants selection and the education distribution of Mexicans than restrictive policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincenzo Caponi, 2010. "Heterogeneous Human Capital and Migration: Who Migrates from Mexico to the us?," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 97-98, pages 207-234.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2010:i:97-98:p:207-234
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Borjas, George J., 1996. "The earnings of Mexican immigrants in the United States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 69-98, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Molina Millán, Teresa & Macours, Karen & Maluccio, John A. & Tejerina, Luis, 2020. "Experimental long-term effects of early-childhood and school-age exposure to a conditional cash transfer program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    2. Isabelle Chort, 2012. "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.?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00689467, HAL.
    3. Vincenzo Caponi, 2011. "Intergenerational Transmission Of Abilities And Self‐Selection Of Mexican Immigrants," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(2), pages 523-547, May.
    4. Roel Beetsma & Oliwia Komada & Krzysztof Makarski & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2020. "The Political (In)Stability of Funded Pension Systems," CESifo Working Paper Series 8176, CESifo.
    5. Jesúús Fernández-Huertas Moraga, 2011. "New Evidence on Emigrant Selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 72-96, February.
    6. 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.
    7. Malone, Lauren, 2007. "Migrants’ Remittances and Investments in Children’s Human Capital: The Role of Asymmetric Preferences in Mexico," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt23n6s2p3, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
    8. Valsecchi, Michele, 2010. "Land Certification and International Migration: Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers in Economics 440, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    9. Isabelle Chort, 2012. "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.?," Working Papers halshs-00689467, HAL.
    10. Valsecchi, Michele, 2014. "Land property rights and international migration: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 276-290.
    11. Jesus Fernández-Huertas Moraga, 2008. "Wealth constraints, skill prices or networks: what determines emigrant selection?," Working Papers 346, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    12. Aparicio Fenoll, Ainoa & Kuehn, Zoë, 2016. "Education Policies and Migration across European Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 9755, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Manuela Angelucci, 2015. "Migration and Financial Constraints: Evidence from Mexico," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 224-228, March.
    14. Abdurrahman Aydemir & George J. Borjas, 2006. "A Comparative Analysis of the Labor Market Impact of International Migration: Canada, Mexico, and the United States," NBER Working Papers 12327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Fernández-Huertas Moraga, Jesús, 2013. "Understanding different migrant selection patterns in rural and urban Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 182-201.
    16. Ainhoa Aparicio Fenoll & Zoë Kuehn, 2017. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Migration Across European Countries," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(6), pages 2181-2200, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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