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Are Immigrants Positively or Negatively Selected? The Role of Immigrant Selection Criteria and Self-Selection


  • Abdurrahman Aydemir

    (Statistics Canada)


This paper specifies and estimates a structural model of international migration using micro data. This provides a direct test of human capital theory that suggests that individuals respond to the earnings differentials across countries while making their migration decisions. The paper specifies migration as a joint outcome of two decision makers, i.e. the individual who decides to apply for migration and the host country that reviews applications, and identifies the factors determining the decision of these two players. The empirical results provide evidence in support of the human capital model. It is also shown that both the host country and the individual have significant impacts on the resulting charatersitics of immigrants. The results suggest negative self-selection at the application stage both in terms of observed and unobserved characteristics and a positive selection at the review step by the host country. Although there is negative self- selection in terms of schooling among applicants, as a result of the positive selection at the review step the resulting migrants are positively selected. However, in terms of unobservable characteristics the review step is unable to reverse the negative self-selection that occurs at the application stage, and the resulting migrants are negatively selected in this dimension.

Suggested Citation

  • Abdurrahman Aydemir, 2003. "Are Immigrants Positively or Negatively Selected? The Role of Immigrant Selection Criteria and Self-Selection," Labor and Demography 0306002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0306002
    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP; pages: 37 ; figures: included. none

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jasso, Guillermina & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 298-304, March.
    2. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    3. Heckman, James J, 1978. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 931-959, July.
    4. Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 147, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    5. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward, 1991. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role of Relative Deprivation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1163-1178, September.
    6. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1978. "The Estimation of a Simultaneous Equation Generalized Probit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1193-1205, September.
    7. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-773, October.
    8. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A, 1993. "Immigrant Selectivity and Wages: The Evidence for Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 986-993, September.
    9. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    10. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    11. George J. Borjas, 1991. "Immigration and Self-Selection," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 29-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Manski, Charles F & Lerman, Steven R, 1977. "The Estimation of Choice Probabilities from Choice Based Samples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(8), pages 1977-1988, November.
    13. Borjas, George J, 1990. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 305-308, March.
    14. Lucas, Robert E B, 1985. "Migration amongst the Botswana," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(378), pages 358-382, June.
    15. Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Lokshin & Mikhail Bontch-Osmolovski & Elena Glinskaya, 2010. "Work-Related Migration and Poverty Reduction in Nepal," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 323-332, May.
    2. Michèle V. K. Belot & Timothy J. Hatton, 2012. "Immigrant Selection in the OECD," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1105-1128, December.
    3. Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Are migrants more skilled than non-migrants? Repeat, return, and same-employer migrants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 830-849, November.
    4. Amjad Ali & Nooreen Mujahid & Yahya Rashid & Muhammad Shahbaz, 2015. "Human Capital Outflow and Economic Misery: Fresh Evidence for Pakistan," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 124(3), pages 747-764, December.
    5. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-584 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    immigration; self-selection; Roy Model; immigration policy;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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