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New insights into the selection process of Mexican migrants.What can we learn from discrepancies between intentions to migrate and actual moves to the U.S.?

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  • Isabelle Chort

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

Comparing intentions to migrate and actual migration of Mexicans, I intend to assess the impact of unexpected shocks and misevaluated costs on the materialization of migration plans. I show that both sets of reasons may explain discrepancies between intentions and subsequent actions without denying the rationality of intentions by resorting to the theoretical framework of the Roy model. I use intention and migration data from the Mexican Family Life Survey, together with precipitations monthly series, hurricane and crime data to represent different sets of shocks. Correlations between intentions and migration on the one hand, and between intentions and individual labor market characteristics show that intentions are not devoid of informational content. Then, modelling intentions and migration with a bivariate probit, I find that shocks, and in particular rainfall and hurricanes, affect the probability to migrate conditional on initial intentions. The key finding is nonetheless the much lower propensity for women to migrate abroad conditional on intentions, which suggests that women incur specic costs or constraints misestimated at the intention stage. Alternative explanations, such as gendered preferences are discussed, but convergent empirical evidence suggest that women are more constrained than men on the international migration market. Moreover the data suggest that migrants are positively selected with respect to their unobserved characteristics whereas those with intention to migrate abroad are negatively selected. The shift in selection between the two stages of the migration process may be due to the cost reducing effect of individuals' unobserved characteristics that explain their higher local wages. Mots-clés : Migration, Roy model, migrant self-selection, subjective data, shocks, Mexico

Suggested Citation

  • Isabelle Chort, 2012. "New insights into the selection process of Mexican migrants.What can we learn from discrepancies between intentions to migrate and actual moves to the U.S.?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00689467, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00689467
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00689467
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2006. "How Important is Selection? Experimental vs Non-experimental Measures of the Income Gains of Migration," Working Papers 06_02, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
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    3. McKenzie, David & Sasin, Marcin J., 2007. "Migration, remittances, poverty, and human capital : conceptual and empirical challenges," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4272, The World Bank.
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    6. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2005. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 215-240, October.
    7. David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2010. "How Important Is Selection? Experimental vs. Non-Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, June.
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    16. van Dalen, H.P. & Henkens, K., 2008. "Emigration Intentions : Mere Words or True Plans? Explaining International Migration Intentions and Behavior," Discussion Paper 2008-60, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael A. Clemens, 2014. "Does development reduce migration?," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 6, pages 152-185 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Michael Clemens, 2014. "Does Development Reduce Migration? - Working Paper 359," Working Papers 359, Center for Global Development.

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    Keywords

    Migration; Roy Model; Migrant Self-Selection; Subjective Data; Shocks; Mexico;

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