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Immigration Policies and the Ecuadorian Exodus


  • Bertoli, Simone

    () (CERDI, University of Auvergne)

  • Fernández-Huertas Moraga, Jesús

    () (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

  • Ortega, Francesc

    () (Queens College, CUNY)


Ecuador experienced an unprecedented wave of international migration since the late 1990s, triggered by a severe economic and financial crisis. This paper gathers individual-level data from Ecuador and the two main destinations of Ecuadorian migrants: the US and Spain. First, we provide a careful description of the main characteristics of migration flows, both in terms of their scale and skill composition. Second, we estimate Mincer regressions for Ecuadorians in the three countries, and attempt to reconcile the features of migration flows with our predictions for earnings by destination. We find that earnings differences can account for the higher share of college graduates among migrants to the US, but fail to explain the larger scale of the flows to Spain. We argue that the puzzle is explained by taking into account that (i) the options to migrate legally to either destination were slim, and (ii) the cost of illegally migrating to Spain was lower than to the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertoli, Simone & Fernández-Huertas Moraga, Jesús & Ortega, Francesc, 2010. "Immigration Policies and the Ecuadorian Exodus," IZA Discussion Papers 4737, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4737

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri, 2009. "The Causes and Effects of International Migrations: Evidence from OECD Countries 1980-2005," Working Papers 96, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    2. Simone Bertoli, 2010. "Networks, Sorting and Self-selection of Ecuadorian Migrants," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 97-98, pages 261-288.
    3. Andrew Atkeson & Varadarajan V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2010. "Sophisticated Monetary Policies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 47-89.
    4. 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.
    5. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
    6. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 239-281, April.
    7. Fabian Valencia & Luc Laeven, 2008. "Systemic Banking Crises; A New Database," IMF Working Papers 08/224, International Monetary Fund.
    8. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
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    More about this item


    immigration policies; sorting; selection; migration;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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