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When a random sample is not random: Bounds on the effect of migration on household members left behind

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  • Steinmayr, Andreas

Abstract

A key problem in the literature on the economics of migration is how emigration of an individual affects households left behind. Answers to this question must confront a problem I refer to as invisible sample selection: when entire households migrate, no information about them remains in their source country. Since estimation is typically based on source country data, invisible sample selection yields biased estimates if all-move households differ from households that send only a subset of their members abroad. I address this identification problem and derive nonparametric bounds within a principal stratification framework. Instrumental variables estimates are biased, even if all-move households do not differ in their potential outcomes. For this case, I derive a corrected instrumental variables estimator. I illustrate the approach using individual and household data from widely cited, recent studies. Potential bias from invisible sample selection can be large, but transparent assumptions regarding behaviors of household members and selectivity of migrants allow identification of informative bounds.

Suggested Citation

  • Steinmayr, Andreas, 2014. "When a random sample is not random: Bounds on the effect of migration on household members left behind," Kiel Working Papers 1975, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:1975
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Romuald Méango, 2016. "What Makes Brain Drain More Likely? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," CESifo Working Paper Series 6209, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Bertoli, Simone & Murard, Elie, 2017. "Migration and Co-Residence Choices: Evidence from Mexico," IZA Discussion Papers 11172, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Clifton-Sprigg, Joanna, 2014. "Out of sight, out of mind? Educational outcomes of children with parents working abroad," SIRE Discussion Papers 2015-45, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    4. Joanna Clifton-Sprigg, 2014. "Out of sight, out of mind? Educational outcomes of children with parents working abroad," ESE Discussion Papers 251, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    sample selection; migration; selectivity; principal stratification;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • 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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