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Propensity Score Matching, a Distance-Based Measure of Migration, and the Wage Growth of Young Men

  • John C. Ham
  • Xianghong Li
  • Patricia B. Reagan

Our analysis of migration differs from previous research in three important aspects. First, we exploit the confidential geocoding in the NLSY79 to obtain a distance-based measure. Second, we let the effect of migration on wage growth differ by schooling level. Third, we use propensity score matching to measure the effect of migration on the wages of those who move. We develop an economic model and use it to (i) assess the appropriateness of matching as an econometric method for studying migration and (ii) choose the conditioning variables used in the matching procedure. Our data set provides a rich array of variables on which to match. We find a significant effect of migration on the wage growth of college graduates of 10 percent, and a marginally significant effect for high school dropouts of –12 percent. If we use either a measure of migration based on moving across county lines or state lines, the significant effects of migration for college graduates and dropouts disappear.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR) in its series IEPR Working Papers with number 05.13.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:scp:wpaper:05-13
Contact details of provider: Phone: (213) 740-3521
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Web page: http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/economics/IEPR/

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  1. Topel, Robert H & Ward, Michael P, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-79, May.
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  4. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  5. Andrews, Donald W. K. & Buchinsky, Moshe, 2001. "Evaluation of a three-step method for choosing the number of bootstrap repetitions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 103(1-2), pages 345-386, July.
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  7. Gordon B. Dahl, 2002. "Mobility and the Return to Education: Testing a Roy Model with Multiple Markets," RCER Working Papers 488, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," NBER Technical Working Papers 0325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Raphael, Steven & Riker, David A., 1999. "Geographic Mobility, Race, and Wage Differentials," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 17-46, January.
  12. Jinyong Hahn, 1998. "On the Role of the Propensity Score in Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(2), pages 315-332, March.
  13. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  16. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Linneman, Peter & Graves, Philip E., 1983. "Migration and job change: A multinomial logit approach," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 263-279, November.
  18. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G & Trejo, Stephen J, 1992. "Assimilation and the Earnings of Young Internal Migrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 170-75, February.
  19. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  20. John Kennan & James R. Walker, 2011. "The Effect of Expected Income on Individual Migration Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 211-251, 01.
  21. McCall, B P & McCall, J J, 1987. "A Sequential Study of Migration and Job Search," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 452-76, October.
  22. James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro-Lozano, 2003. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," NBER Working Papers 9497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  24. Tunali, Insan, 2000. "Rationality of Migration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(4), pages 893-920, November.
  25. Donald W. K. Andrews & Moshe Buchinsky, 2000. "A Three-Step Method for Choosing the Number of Bootstrap Repetitions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 23-52, January.
  26. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Borjas, George J. & Bronars, Stephen G. & Trejo, Stephen J., 1992. "Self-selection and internal migration in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-185, September.
  28. Paul E. Gabriel & Susanne Schmitz, 1995. "Favorable Self-Selection and the Internal Migration of Young White Males in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 460-471.
  29. Falaris, Evangelos M, 1987. "A Nested Logit Migration Model with Selectivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(2), pages 429-43, June.
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  31. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  32. Jeffrey J. Yankow, 2003. "Migration, Job Change, and Wage Growth: A New Perspective on the Pecuniary Return to Geographic Mobility," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 483-516.
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