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Do the Best Go West?: An Analysis of the Self-Selection of Employed East-West Migrants in Germany

  • Herbert Brücker
  • Parvati Trübswetter

Since the inequality of earnings in East Germany has approached West German levels in the late 1990s, the standard Roy model predicts that a positive selection bias of East-West migrants should disappear. Using a switching regression model and data from the IAB-employment sample, we find however that employed East-West migrants remain positively self-selected with respect to unobserved abilities. This result is consistent with the predictions of our extended Roy model which considers moving costs that are negatively correlated with labour market abilities of individuals. Moreover, we find that wage differentials as well as differences in employment opportunities are the central forces which drive East-West migration after unification.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 396.

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Length: 40 p.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp396
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  1. Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 147, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  2. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-49, September.
  3. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
  4. Burda, Michael C., 1993. "The determinants of East-West German migration: Some first results," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 452-461, April.
  5. Jasso, Guillermina & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 298-304, March.
  6. Robert J. Willis & Sherwin Rosen, 1978. "Education and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 0249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2001. "From Reunification to Economic Integration: Productivity and the Labor Market in Eastern Germany," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 1-92.
  8. Jennifer Hunt, 2000. "Why Do People Still Live in East Germany?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 201, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  9. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  10. Stephen Goldfeld & Richard Quandt, 1973. "The Estimation of Structural Shifts by Switching Regressions," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 2, number 4, pages 475-485 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Michael C. Burda & Wolfgang Härdle & Marlene Müller & Axel Werwatz, 1998. "Semiparametric analysis of German East-West migration intentions: facts and theory," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 525-541.
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