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Intergenerational Transmission of Abilities and Self Selection of Mexican Immigrants

  • Caponi, Vincenzo

    ()

    (Ryerson University)

Building on Borjas (1993) I develop an intergenerational model of self-selection of migration and education that allows for a complex selection mechanism. In particular, it allows for the possibility that agents are selected differently depending on the schooling level they choose. As in Mayer (2005) I assume that agents are endowed with two abilities, manual and intellectual, and use the intergenerational structure of the model to infer potential earnings of a person for different levels of education and in different countries. This makes it possible to quantify the self selection bias of estimates of the return to education and migration. The model is estimated using data on Mexicans in the US from the CPS and on Mexicans residents in Mexico from the Mexican census. The findings are that there is a significant loss of human capital faced by immigrants that is not transmitted to their children. While immigrants are observed to earn less because they find it difficult to adapt their skills to the host country, their children earn more because they can inherit all the abilities of their parents, including that part that could not be used for producing earnings. Moreover, in the case of immigrants, parents with larger amounts of intellectual ability migrate more and tend to choose to remain high school educated. However, they migrate with the expectation of their children becoming college educated. Therefore, measures that rely on the earnings performance and educational attainment of immigrants underestimate the amount of human capital they bring into the host country.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2431.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: International Economic Review, 2011, 52 (2), 523 - 547
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2431
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  1. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2007. "Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 229-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Chiara Binelli, 2009. "The Demand-Supply-Demand Twist: How the Wage Structure Got More Convex," Working Paper Series 48_09, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jan 2009.
  3. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2002. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," NBER Working Papers 9242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kurokawa, Yoshinori, 2006. "Skill Intensity Reversal and the Rising Skill Premium: Evidence from the U.S. and Mexico," MPRA Paper 14013, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Hendricks, Lutz A., 2001. "The Economic Performance of Immigrants: A Theory of Assortative Matching," Staff General Research Papers 11931, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Chiara Binelli & Orazio Attanasio, 2010. "Mexico in the 1990s: the Main Cross-Sectional Facts," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 238-264, January.
  7. Robert J. Willis & Sherwin Rosen, 1978. "Education and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 0249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2007. "Estimating Discount Functions with Consumption Choices over the Lifecycle," Documentos de Trabajo 236, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  9. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Adalbert Mayer, 2004. "Education, Self-Selection and Intergenerational Transmission of Abilities," 2004 Meeting Papers 107, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. McFadden, Daniel, 1989. "A Method of Simulated Moments for Estimation of Discrete Response Models without Numerical Integration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 995-1026, September.
  12. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages F300-F323, November.
  14. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
  15. Antonio Spilimbergo & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1337-1357, December.
  16. 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.
  17. Heckman, James & Scheinkman, Jose, 1987. "The Importance of Bundling in a Gorman-Lancaster Model of Earnings," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 243-55, April.
  18. Caponi, Vincenzo, 2006. "Heterogeneous Human Capital and Migration: Who Migrates from Mexico to the US?," IZA Discussion Papers 2446, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  20. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme L, 1990. "Self-selection and the Distribution of Hourly Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S329-63, January.
  21. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
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