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Who Migrates and Why?

Author

Listed:
  • Cristian Bartolucci
  • Mathis Wagner
  • Claudia Villosio

Abstract

We use twenty years of Italian administrative panel data, a uniquely rich source of information on internal migration experiences, to identify the role of unobserved worker characteristics in the selection and returns to migrants. We propose and implement a novel iterative estimation method for a switching regression model with the same worker-specific source of unobserved heterogeneity ("ability") present in the selection and both outcome equations. We estimate that the returns to ability are lower in the North than in the South of Italy and accordingly migrants tend to be drawn from the lower-end of the ability distribution. Around half the gains to migration are due to higher wages, and the other half due to greater labor market attachment. Differential returns to observable characteristics are far less important. Return migration reinforces the original negative selection of migrants, consistent with migrants facing considerable uncertainty about their income in northern Italy.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristian Bartolucci & Mathis Wagner & Claudia Villosio, 2013. "Who Migrates and Why?," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 333, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:333
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Parey & Jens Ruhose & Fabian Waldinger & Nicolai Netz, 2017. "The Selection of High-Skilled Emigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(5), pages 776-792, December.
    2. Angela Parenti & Cristina Tealdi, 2015. "Regional Commuting in Italy: Do Temporary Contracts Affect the Decision?," Discussion Papers 2015/203, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
    3. Biavaschi, Costanza & Elsner, Benjamin, 2013. "Let's Be Selective about Migrant Self-Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 7865, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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