Emigration of Immigrants and Measures of Immigrant Assimilation: Evidence from Sweden
Most previously used measures of immigrant labor market assimilation will be biased if there is non-random emigration of immigrants. We use longitudinal data on immigration to Sweden 1970-1990 to examine the extent and pattern of immigrant emigration and its consequences for measures of assimilation. Large fractions of the immigrants leave the host country shortly after arrival; within five years, more than a quarter of the people studied emigrated. As expected, economic migrants are much more likely to emigrate than political ones. Further, within these two groups, it is the least economically successful who leave. Accordingly, not adjusting for emigration leads to overrating of the economic assimilation for Nordic and OECD immigrants by as much as 90 percent or more.
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