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Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico

  • Pia Orrenius
  • Madeline Zavodny

This paper examines the effect of changes in migration determinants on the skill level of undocumented immigrants from Mexico. We focus on the effect of changes in economic conditions, migrant networks, and border enforcement on the educational attainment of Mexican-born men who cross the border illegally. Although previous research indicates that illegal aliens from Mexico tend to be unskilled relative to US natives and that economic conditions, networks and border enforcement affect the size of illegal immigrant flows across the border, the interaction of these variables has not been investigated. Results from hazard models using data from the Mexical Migration Project indicate that improvements in US and Mexican economic conditions are associated with relatively less-skilled undocumented immigrants. Stricter border enforcement is associated with higher skill levels. Access to a network of previous immigrants appears to lower the cost of migrating but has no differential effect by skill level.

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File URL: http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/research/papers/2000/wp0005.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Working Papers with number 0005.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:00-05
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  1. Jorge Durand & William Kandel & Emilio Parrado & Douglas Massey, 1996. "International migration and development in mexican communities," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 249-264, May.
  2. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, December.
  3. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
  4. Katharine Donato & Jorge Durand & Douglas Massey, 1992. "Stemming the tide? Assessing the deterrent effects of the immigration reform and control act," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 139-157, May.
  5. Winters, Paul C. & de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1999. "Family And Community Networks In Mexico-U.S. Migration," Working Papers 12907, University of New England, School of Economics.
  6. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," Research Department Publications 4036, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping: Reexamining The Impact Of Immigration On The Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374, November.
  8. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Frank Bean & B. Lowell & Lowell Taylor, 1988. "Undocumented Mexican immigrants and the earnings of other workers in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 35-52, February.
  10. David Card, 1997. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," NBER Working Papers 5927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Smith, J-P & Thomas, D, 1997. "Migration in Retrospect : Remembrances of Things Past," Papers 97-06, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  12. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 239-281, April.
  13. Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
  14. Borjas, George J., 1996. "The earnings of Mexican immigrants in the United States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 69-98, October.
  15. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward, 1991. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role of Relative Deprivation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1163-78, September.
  16. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
  17. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
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