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Are Migrants More Skilled than Non-Migrants?: Repeat, Return and Same-Employer Migrants

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  • Jennifer Hunt

Abstract

I examine the determinants of inter-state migration of adults within western Germany, using the German Socio-Economic Panel from 1984 - 2000. I highlight the prevalence and distinctive characteristics of migrants who do not change employers. Same-employer migrants represent 25 % of all migrants, and have higher education and pre-move wages than non-migrants. Conditional on age, same-employer migrants are therefore more skilled than non-migrants. By contrast, although other migrants have higher education than non-migrants, they do not have higher pre-move wages. Furthermore, they have in their ranks disproportionate numbers of the non-employed, unemployed and recently laid off. It therefore seems inappropriate to characterize them as more skilled than non-migrants. The results for same-employer migrants indicate that skilled workers have a low-cost migration avenue that has not been considered in the previous literature. I also analyze the relation between repeat and return migration and distinguish between short and long-distance migration. I confirm that long-distance migrants are more skilled than short-distance migrants, as predicted by theory, and I show that return migrants are a mix of successes and failures.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Are Migrants More Skilled than Non-Migrants?: Repeat, Return and Same-Employer Migrants," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 422, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp422
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    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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