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Testing Self-Selection in Migration: Evidence from the Israeli Kibbutz


  • Ran Abramitzky

    () (Department of Economics, Stanford Univeristy)


I use a longitudinal dataset of individuals entering and exiting Israeli kibbutzim, communities that engage in equal sharing of output, to test the mobility patterns induced by redistribution. I find evidence of negative selection in entry to kibbutzim and positive selection in exit. Entrants were negatively selected in their pre-entry earnings compared with non-entrants, especially among the more educated. Compared with stayers, individuals who left kibbutzim were positively selected in their observable skills such as education. Less educated kibbutz leavers were also positively selected on their ex ante-unobservable skills (measured by post-exit wage). Finally, the selection patterns into kibbutzim differed substantially from the selection patterns into other rural locations that did not engage in intensive redistribution. At the broader level, these findings also provide micro-level empirical support for Borjas’ hypothesis that migrant self-selection depends on the difference in returns to skills between the origin and the destination.

Suggested Citation

  • Ran Abramitzky, 2008. "Testing Self-Selection in Migration: Evidence from the Israeli Kibbutz," Discussion Papers 07-051, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-051

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    More about this item


    migration trends; Israel; immigrant redistribution; self-selection;

    JEL classification:

    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


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