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Wealth Constraints, Skill Prices or Networks: What Determines Emigrant Selection?

The productive characteristics of migrating individuals, emigrant selection, affect welfare. The empirical estimation of the degree of selection suffers from a lack of complete and nationally representative data. This paper uses a new and better dataset to address both issues: the ENET (Mexican Labor Survey), which identifies emigrants right before they leave and allows a direct comparison to non-migrants. This dataset presents a relevant dichotomy: it shows on average negative selection for Mexican emigrants to the United States for the period 2000-2004 together with positive selection in Mexican emigration out of rural Mexico to the United States in the same period. Three theories that could explain this dichotomy are tested. Whereas higher skill prices in Mexico than in the US are enough to explain negative selection in urban Mexico, its combination with network effects and wealth constraints is required to account for positive selection in rural Mexico.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 741.08.

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Length: 55
Date of creation: 12 Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:741.08
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  1. Murray Leibbrandt & James Levinsohn & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Incomes in South Africa Since the Fall of Apartheid," NBER Working Papers 11384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2001. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2001-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  3. Cragg, Michael Ian & Epelbaum, Mario, 1996. "Why has wage dispersion grown in Mexico? Is it the incidence of reforms or the growing demand for skills?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 99-116, October.
  4. Woodruff, Christopher & Zenteno, Rene, 2007. "Migration networks and microenterprises in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 509-528, March.
  5. Paxton, Julia A., 2006. "Technical efficiency in the rural financial sector: evidence from Mexico," Journal of Developing Areas, Tennessee State University, College of Business, vol. 39(2), pages 101-119, January-M.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. Gathmann, Christina, 2008. "Effects of enforcement on illegal markets: Evidence from migrant smuggling along the southwestern border," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1926-1941, October.
  9. Raymond Robertson, 2000. "Wage Shocks and North American Labor-Market Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 742-764, September.
  10. 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.
  11. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
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