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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. 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.
  2. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2011. "Can migration reduce educational attainment? Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 1331-1358, October.
  3. Ravi Kanbur & Hillel Rapoport, 2004. "Migration Selectivity and the Evolution of Spatial Inequality," Working Papers 2004-04, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
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  7. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Mckenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2004. "Network Effects and the Dynamics of Migration and Inequality: Theory and Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers 2004-3, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  9. José Ernesto López-Córdova, 2006. "Globalization, migration and development : the role of Mexican migrant remittances," INTAL Working Papers 1440, Inter-American Development Bank, INTAL.
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  19. 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.
  20. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
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