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Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2000. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," Working Papers 0005, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:00-05
    Note: Published as: Orreninus, Pia M. and Madeline Zavodny (2005), "Self-Selection Among Undocumented Immigrants from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics 78 (1): 215-240.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    undocumented immigrants; illegal aliens; Mexican migration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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