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Selection Criteria and the Skill Composition of Immigrants: A Comparative Analysis of Australian and U.S. Employment Immigration

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  • Jasso, Guillermina

    () (New York University)

  • Rosenzweig, Mark R.

    () (Yale University)

Abstract

This paper uses survey data on employment immigrants in Australia and the United States to identify the main determinants of the size and skill composition of employment immigrants to developed countries. Our approach emphasizes the key roles of world prices of skills and country proximity. Our empirical results are consistent with the view that these factors, rather than the nuances of selection systems, dominate. There are five main findings: (1) Higher skill prices in sending countries decrease the number of immigrants but increase their average schooling. (2) More-distant countries send fewer but more skilled immigrants. (3) Given skill prices and proximity, countries with higher income send more immigrants, of lower skill. (4) Within a sending country, Australia attracts less total but higher-skill migrants than does the United States. This can be attributed, however, to the fact that the skill price in Australia is lower than the U.S. skill price, so that immigration gains are greater from immigrating to United States. (5) The estimated coefficients determining migration flows to Australia and the United States are the same for both countries. We conclude that geography thus matters in the sense that who a country’s neighbors are, in terms of their level and type of development, has a significant effect on the size and skill composition of employment migrants. There is no evidence that the differences in the selection mechanism used to screen employment migrants in the two countries play a significant role in affecting the characteristics of skill migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Jasso, Guillermina & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2008. "Selection Criteria and the Skill Composition of Immigrants: A Comparative Analysis of Australian and U.S. Employment Immigration," IZA Discussion Papers 3564, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3564
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lee, Jong-Wha & Barro, Robert J, 2001. "Schooling Quality in a Cross-Section of Countries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(272), pages 465-488, November.
    2. Jasso, Guillermina & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 298-304, March.
    3. Guillermina Jasso & Douglas Massey & Mark Rosenzweig & James Smith, 2000. "The new immigrant survey pilot (NIS-P): Overview and new findings about U.S. Legal immigrants at admission," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(1), pages 127-138, February.
    4. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    5. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
    6. Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 147, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    7. Lalonde, Robert J. & Topel, Robert H., 1993. "Economic impact of international migration and the economic performance of migrants," Handbook of Population and Family Economics,in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 799-850 Elsevier.
    8. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2011. "Eight Questions about Brain Drain," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 107-128, Summer.
    2. Cécily Defoort & Carine Drapier, 2012. "Immigration and its dependence on the welfare system: the case of France," Working Papers hal-00995293, HAL.
    3. Batista, Catia & Lacuesta, Aitor & Vicente, Pedro C., 2012. "Testing the ‘brain gain’ hypothesis: Micro evidence from Cape Verde," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 32-45.
    4. Batista, Catia & Lacuesta, Aitor & Vicente, Pedro C., 2007. "Brain Drain or Brain Gain? Micro Evidence from an African Success Story," IZA Discussion Papers 3035, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Gordon Hanson, 2010. "The Governance of Migration Policy," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 185-207.
    6. Arun Chandrasekhar & Victor Chernozhukov & Francesca Molinari & Paul Schrimpf, 2012. "Inference for best linear approximations to set identified functions," CeMMAP working papers CWP43/12, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    7. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2010. "Fiscal and Migration Competition," NBER Working Papers 16224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Milo Bianchi, 2013. "Immigration Policy and Self-Selecting Migrants," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, February.
    9. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2010. "Microeconomic Approaches to Development: Schooling, Learning, and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 81-96.
    10. Catia Batista & Aitor Lacuesta & Pedro Vicente, 2009. "Micro evidence of the brain gain hypothesis: The case of Cape Verde," Working Papers 0902, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    11. Oded Stark & C. Simon Fan, 2011. "The Prospect of Migration, Sticky Wages, and “Educated Unemployment”," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, pages 277-287.
    12. Simone Bertoli & Hillel Rapoport, 2015. "Heaven's Swing Door: Endogenous Skills, Migration Networks, and the Effectiveness of Quality-Selective Immigration Policies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 117(2), pages 565-591, April.
    13. Guillermina Jasso & Douglas S. Massey & Mark R. Rosenzweig & James P. Smith, 2005. "Immigration, health, and New York City: early results based on the U.S. new immigrant cohort of 2003," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 127-151.
    14. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka & Benjarong Suwankiri, 2009. "Migration and the welfare state: Dynamic Political-Economy Theory," NBER Working Papers 14784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. McHale, John & Rogers, Keith, 2009. "Selecting Economic Immigrants: An Actuarial Approach," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-64, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Nov 2009.
    16. Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2010. "Global Wage Inequality and the International Flow of Migrants," Working Papers 77, Yale University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigrant selection criteria; skill prices; country proximity; globalization; employment immigration; highly skilled immigration; immigration policy;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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