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Let's Be Selective about Migrant Self-Selection

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  • Biavaschi, Costanza

    () (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU))

  • Elsner, Benjamin

    () (University College Dublin)

Abstract

Migrants are typically self-selected from the population of their home country. While a large literature has identified the causes of self-selection, we turn in this paper to the consequences. Using a combination of non-parametric econometrics and calibrated simulation, we quantify the impact of migrant self-selection on per-capita GDP in both sending and receiving countries. Two episodes of mass migration serve as examples: the migration from Norway to the US in the 1880s and the migration from Mexico to the US in the 2000s. We first estimate the degree of selection, and show that Norwegians were positively and Mexicans negatively selected. In a simulation exercise, we compare the economy under selective migration with a counterfactual in which the same number of migrants are neutrally selected. In both periods, we find virtually no aggregate effect in the US. Findings are different for the sending countries; migrant selection decreases Norwegian GDP by 0.3%, and increases Mexican GDP by almost 1%. While these effects may appear small, we demonstrate that the effect in Mexico is as large as the difference between no migration and the current level of migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Biavaschi, Costanza & Elsner, Benjamin, 2013. "Let's Be Selective about Migrant Self-Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 7865, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7865
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    Cited by:

    1. Bertoli, Simone & Dequiedt, Vianney & Zenou, Yves, 2016. "Can selective immigration policies reduce migrants' quality?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 100-109.
    2. BIAVASCHI Costanza & BURZYNSKI Michal & ELSNER Benjamin & MACHADO Joël, 2018. "Taking the Skill Bias out of Global Migration," LISER Working Paper Series 2018-11, LISER.
    3. Costanza Biavaschi & Michal Burzynski & Benjamin Elsner & Joël Machado, 2016. "The Gain from the Drain - Skill-biased Migration and Global Welfare," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1624, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    4. Michal Burzynski, 2016. "Time, Space and Skills in Designing Migration Policy," CREA Discussion Paper Series 16-12, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    5. Jesús Fernández-Huertas Moraga, 2014. "Immigrant Selection over the Business Cycle: The Spanish Boom and the Great Recession," Working Papers 2014-05, FEDEA.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    international migration; selection; welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • 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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