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Global Wage Inequality and the International Flow of Migrants


  • Rosenzweig, Mark R.

    (Yale University)


A framework for understanding the determinants in the variation in the pricing of skills across countries and the model underlying the Mincer specification of wages that is used widely to estimate the relationship between schooling and wages are described. A method for identifying skill prices and for testing the Mincer model, using wages and the human capital attributes of workers located around the world, is discussed. A global wage equation that nests the Mincer specification is estimated that provides skill price estimates for 140 countries. The estimates reject the Mincer model. The skill price estimates indicate that variation in skill prices dominates the cross-country variation in schooling levels or rates of return to schooling in accounting for the global inequality in the earnings of workers worldwide. Variation in skill prices and GDP across countries has opposite and significant effects on the number and quality of migrants to the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2010. "Global Wage Inequality and the International Flow of Migrants," Working Papers 77, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:77

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Guillermina Jasso & Douglas Massey & Mark Rosenzweig & James Smith, 2000. "The new immigrant survey pilot (NIS-P): Overview and new findings about U.S. Legal immigrants at admission," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(1), pages 127-138, February.
    2. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    3. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frederic & Rapoport, Hillel, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 275-289, February.
    4. Richard B. Freeman & Remco Oostendorp, 2000. "Wages Around the World: Pay Across Occupations and Countries," NBER Working Papers 8058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    6. Jasso, Guillermina & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2008. "Selection Criteria and the Skill Composition of Immigrants: A Comparative Analysis of Australian and U.S. Employment Immigration," IZA Discussion Papers 3564, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Orley Ashenfelter, 2012. "Comparing Real Wage Rates: Presidential Address," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 617-642, April.
    2. Ro, Annie & Fleischer, Nancy L. & Blebu, Bridgette, 2016. "An examination of health selection among U.S. immigrants using multi-national data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 114-121.
    3. Harald Fadinger & Karin Mayr, 2014. "Skill-Biased Technological Change, Unemployment, And Brain Drain," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 397-431, April.
    4. Ashenfelter, Orley, 2012. "Comparing Real Wage Rates," IZA Discussion Papers 6500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Rodrik, Dani, 2017. "Is Global Equality the Enemy of National Equality?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Rodrik, Dani, 2017. "Is Global Equality the Enemy of National Equality?," Working Paper Series rwp17-003, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    7. Brauw, Alan de, 2015. "Migration, Youth, and Agricultural Productivity in Ethiopia," 2015 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 3-5, 2015, Boston, Massachusetts 189684, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01t435gd01h is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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