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Wealth constraints, skill prices or networks: what determines emigrant selection?

  • Jesus Fernández-Huertas Moraga

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 Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 346.

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Date of creation: Sep 2015
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:346
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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. 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.
  3. Woodruff, Christopher & Zenteno, Rene, 2007. "Migration networks and microenterprises in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 509-528, March.
  4. Murray Leibbrandt & James Levinsohn & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Incomes in South Africa since the fall of Apartheid," Working Papers 536, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  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. 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.
  7. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2001. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2001-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  8. Raymond Robertson, 2000. "Wage Shocks and North American Labor-Market Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 742-764, September.
  9. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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