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Heterogeneous Human Capital and Migration: Who Migrates from Mexico to the US?

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  • Caponi, Vincenzo

    () (CREST)

Abstract

In this paper I document the fact that the relationship between human capital, as measured by education, and migration choices among Mexicans is U- shaped: the highest and lowest educated tend to migrate more than the middle educated. I provide an explanation for the U-shaped relationship based on the interaction of two forces. On the one hand, there is a loss of human capital faced by emigrants, due to imperfect transferability, that is progressive with education and causes the negative relationship. On the other hand, the altruism towards future generations and the transmission of human capital from one generation to the next drives the positive relationship. I calibrate the model to match relevant moments from the Mexican and US Censuses, and use the calibrated model for policy evaluation. I evaluate the long run effect of the Progresa policy on education and migration. I show that, by giving a monetary contribution to poor families that send their children to school at lower grades, the Mexican government will improve the educational distribution of future generations and this in turn will shift the composition of immigrants towards the higher educated. Overall it will lower emigration from Mexico attenuating the pressure, especially of illegal immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2446
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jesúús Fernández-Huertas Moraga, 2011. "New Evidence on Emigrant Selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 72-96, February.
    2. Valsecchi, Michele, 2014. "Land property rights and international migration: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 276-290.
    3. Fernández-Huertas Moraga, Jesús, 2013. "Understanding different migrant selection patterns in rural and urban Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 182-201.
    4. Vincenzo Caponi, 2011. "Intergenerational Transmission Of Abilities And Self‐Selection Of Mexican Immigrants," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(2), pages 523-547, May.
    5. Abdurrahman Aydemir & George J. Borjas, 2006. "A Comparative Analysis of the Labor Market Impact of International Migration: Canada, Mexico, and the United States," NBER Working Papers 12327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. Manuela Angelucci, 2015. "Migration and Financial Constraints: Evidence from Mexico," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 224-228, March.
    8. Aparicio Fenoll, Ainoa & Kuehn, Zoë, 2016. "Education Policies and Migration across European Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 9755, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Malone, Lauren, 2007. "Migrants’ Remittances and Investments in Children’s Human Capital: The Role of Asymmetric Preferences in Mexico," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt23n6s2p3, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
    10. Jesus Fernández-Huertas Moraga, 2008. "Wealth constraints, skill prices or networks: what determines emigrant selection?," Working Papers 346, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    11. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0615-x is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Valsecchi, Michele, 2010. "Land Certification and International Migration: Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers in Economics 440, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    13. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "Self-Selection Patterns in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Role of Migration Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 811-821, November.
    14. 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.?," Working Papers halshs-00689467, HAL.
    15. repec:rim:rimwps:20-07 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    heterogeneous human capital; Mexico; migration; progresa;

    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
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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