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On Migrant Selectivity

Eric Jensen, Sarah Gale () and Paul Charpentier ()
Additional contact information
Sarah Gale: Accenture
Paul Charpentier: Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin

No 32, Working Papers from Department of Economics, College of William and Mary

Abstract: Recent migrants to the United States have displayed lower earnings levels and a slower rate of earnings convergence with natives than previous immigrants. Borjas has argued that this reflects negative selectivity of immigrants; others, including Card, Chiquiar and Hanson, and Duleep and Regets, question this contention. Some of the ambiguity is due to measurement problems, with educational attainment (or its labor market consequences) used in place of unobserved migrant quality. We suggest that constraints in the supply of education in sending regions significantly limit the usefulness of educational attainment or related measures as proxies for migrant quality. We propose an alternative measure of migrant quality that incorporates education supply constraints, and present evidence of Mexican migrants self-selecting positively on ability.

Pages: 34 pages
Date: 2006-07-13
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