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New Evidence on Emigrant Selection

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  • Jesus Fernández-Huertas Moraga

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which Mexican emigrants to the United States are negatively selected, that is, have lower skills than individuals who remain in Mexico. Previous studies have been limited by the lack of nationally representative longitudinal data. This one uses a newly available household survey, which identifies emigrants before they leave and allows a direct comparison to non-migrants. I find that, on average, US bound Mexican emigrants from 2000 to 2004 earn a lower wage and have less schooling years than individuals who remain in Mexico, evidence of negative selection. This supports the original hypothesis of Borjas (AER, 1987) and argues against recent findings, notably those of Chiquiar and Hanson (JPE, 2005). The discrepancy with the latter is primarily due to an under-count of unskilled migrants in US sources and secondarily to the omission of unobservables in their methodology.

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  • Jesus Fernández-Huertas Moraga, 2008. "New Evidence on Emigrant Selection," Working Papers 347, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:347
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Manuela Angelucci, 2012. "US Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(2), pages 311-357.
    2. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-176, February.
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    5. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
    6. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2005. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 215-240, October.
    7. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    8. 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.
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    10. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    international migration; selection; household survey;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution

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