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Intergenerational Transmission of Abilities and Self Selection of Mexican Immigrants

  • Vincenzo Caponi


    (Department of Economics, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)

This paper presents an intergenerational self selection model of migration and education that is capable of explaining the evolution of earnings and education across three generations of immigrants. By structurally estimating the model it is possible to quantify the human capital level of Mexicans in light of the self-sacrifice made by the first generation of Mexican immigrants. The results suggest that there is a significant one time loss of human capital faced by immigrants upon migration that is not transmitted to their children. Also parents with larger amounts of human capital tend to migrate more and tend to choose to remain high school educated. However, given the better educational opportunities offered in the US, 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 Ryerson University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 002.

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Length: 62 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rye:wpaper:wp002
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  1. Adalbert Mayer, 2008. "Education, Self-Selection, and Intergenerational Transmission of Abilities," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 106-128.
  2. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Daniel McFadden, 1987. "A Method of Simulated Moments for Estimation of Discrete Response Models Without Numerical Integration," Working papers 464, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Card, David, 2004. "Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?," IZA Discussion Papers 1119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. Jeremy Tobacman & David Laibson, 2007. "Estimating Discount Functions with Consumption Choices over the Lifecycle," Economics Series Working Papers 341, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  13. 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).
  14. 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.
  15. Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2009. "Is a Skill Intensity Reversal a Mere Theoretical Curiosum? Evidence from the U.S. and Mexico," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2009-010, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
  16. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," Research Department Publications 4036, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  17. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S7-36, October.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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