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Self-selection patterns in Mexico-U.S. migration: The role of migration networks

Author

Listed:
  • David McKenzie

    (World Bank, Development Economics Research Group)

  • Hillel Rapoport

    (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University, CADRE, Universite de Lille 2, and CReAM, University College London)

Abstract

This paper examines the role of migration networks in determining self-selection patterns of Mexico-U.S. migration. We first present a simple theoretical framework showing how such networks impact on migration incentives at different education levels and, consequently, how they are likely to affect the expected skill composition of migration. Using survey data from Mexico, we then show that the probability of migration is increasing with education in communities with low migrant networks, but decreasing with education in communities with high migrant networks. This is consistent with positive self-selection of migrants being driven by high migration costs, as advocated by Chiquiar and Hanson (2005), and with negative self-selection of migrants being driven by lower returns to education in the U.S. than in Mexico, as advocated by Borjas (1987).

Suggested Citation

  • David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2007. "Self-selection patterns in Mexico-U.S. migration: The role of migration networks," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0701, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0701
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; migration networks; educational attainments; self-selection; Mexico;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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