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Migration, Self-selection and Returns to Education in the WAEMU

Listed author(s):
  • Philippe De Vreyer

    (DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme, LEDa - DIAL - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Economie de la mondialisation et du développement - Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine)

  • Flore Gubert

    (DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme, IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)

  • François Roubaud

    (DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme, IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)

We use a unique set of identical labour force surveys that allow to observe, at the same time, migrants in seven WAEMU countries and their country of origin's labour market. We use these data first to document the patterns of migration flows in the sub-region, second to estimate the determinants of migration behaviour across these countries and to correct the estimated returns to education for the endogeneity of location choice. We finally estimate a structural model to evaluate the impact of expected earnings differentials on the probability of selecting a particular country to reside in. Our results show that Cote d'Ivoire remains the most important immigration country in the sub-region. Our data also suggests that Mali and Burkina Faso have been and still are major labour-exporting countries, largely towards Cote d'Ivoire. Benin and Togo, by contrast, combine both emigration and immigration. Looking at migrants characteristics we find that migrants tend to be less educated than non migrants in both their origin and destination countries, are more likely than natives to work in the informal sector and that they receive lower wages. Our econometric results suggest that not holding account of international migration in estimating returns to education yields upward biased estimates in three countries out of seven and downward biased estimates in two others. However, disparities in returns to education between capital cities do not vanish, suggesting that country-specific amenities and other un-measurable non-wage variables play important roles in the location choice of individuals with different levels of education. We also find that expected earnings differentials have a very significant effect on the choice probabilities: all else equal, people tend to live in countries in which their expected earnings are higher than elsewhere.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-01374352.

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Date of creation: 2010
Publication status: Published in Journal of African Economies, 2010, 19 (1), <10.1093/jae/ejp011>
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01374352
DOI: 10.1093/jae/ejp011
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01374352
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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