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Self-Selection Patterns in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Role of Migration Networks

  • David McKenzie

    (World Bank, CReAM, and IZA)

  • Hillel Rapoport

    (EQUIPPE, Université de Lille; CEPREMAP; and CReAM)

This paper examines the role of migration networks in determining self-selection patterns of Mexico-U.S. migration. A simple theoretical framework shows the impact of networks on migration incentives at different education levels and how this affects the composition of migrant skills. Empirically, we find positive or education-neutral selection in communities with weak migrant networks but negative self-selection in communities with stronger networks. This is consistent with high migration costs driving positive or intermediate self-selection, as advocated by Chiquiar and Hanson (2005), and with negative self-selection being driven by lower returns to education in the United States than in Mexico, as advocated by Borjas (1987). (c) 2010 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 811-821

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:92:y:2010:i:4:p:811-821
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  1. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
  2. Ira N. Gang & Thomas Bauer & Gil S. Epstein, 2002. "Enclaves, Language and the Location Choice of Migrants," Departmental Working Papers 200217, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  3. Sarah Dolfin & Garance Genicot, 2010. "What Do Networks Do? The Role of Networks on Migration and "Coyote" Use," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 343-359, 05.
  4. David J. McKenzie & Nicole Hildebrandt, 2005. "The Effects of Migration on Child Health in Mexico," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2005), pages 257-289, August.
  5. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
  7. Paul Winters & Alain de Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2001. "Family and Community Networks in Mexico-U.S. Migration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 159-184.
  8. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  9. Ernesto López-Córdova, 2005. "Globalization, Migration, and Development: The Role of Mexican Migrant Remittances," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2005), pages 217-248, August.
  10. Benjamin Davis & Paul Winters, 2002. "Gender, Networks and Mexico-US Migration," Working Papers 02-03, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  11. Ravi Kanbur & Hillel Rapoport, 2005. "Migration selectivity and the evolution of spatial inequality," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 43-57, January.
  12. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bauer, Thomas & Epstein, Gil S & Gang, Ira, 2002. "Herd Effects or Migration Networks? The Location Choice of Mexican Immigrants in the US," CEPR Discussion Papers 3505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2001. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2001-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  15. McKenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2006. "Can migration reduce educational attainment ? Evidence from Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3952, The World Bank.
  16. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
  17. Joshua D. Angrist, 1991. "Instrumental Variables Estimation of Average Treatment Effects in Econometrics and Epidemiology," NBER Technical Working Papers 0115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Schultz, Theodore W, 1980. "Nobel Lecture: The Economics of Being Poor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(4), pages 639-51, August.
  19. Kossoudji, S.A. & Cobb-Clark, D.A., 1996. "Coming Out of the Shadows: Learning About Legal Status and Wages from the Legalized Population," CEPR Discussion Papers 347, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  20. Caponi, Vincenzo, 2006. "Heterogeneous Human Capital and Migration: Who Migrates from Mexico to the US?," IZA Discussion Papers 2446, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. B.R. Chiswick & P.W. Miller, 2000. "Do Enclaves Matter in Immigrant Adjustment?," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 00-19, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  22. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  23. Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
  24. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
  25. Woodruff, Christopher & Zenteno, Rene, 2007. "Migration networks and microenterprises in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 509-528, March.
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