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A Global Bilateral Migration Data Base: Skilled Labor, Wages and Remittances

Terrie Walmsley, Syud Ahmed and Christopher Parsons

GTAP Research Memoranda from Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University

Abstract: The lack of data on the movement of people, their wages and remittances has been the biggest impediment to the analysis of temporary and permanent migration between countries. Recent efforts in this area by Parsons, Skeldon, Walmsley and Winters (2005) to construct a global bilateral matrix of foreign born populations; and by Docquier and Markouk (2004) on the education levels of migrant labor have significantly improved the data available for analysis. In this paper these new databases (Parsons et al, 2005 and Docquier and Markouk, 2004) are employed to construct a globally consistent database of bilateral population, labor by skill, wages and remittances which can be used for modeling migration issues . Although the new databases have significantly improved access to migration data, data on the skills of migrant labor are incomplete and bilateral remittances data is unavailable. This paper examines the underlying data available, and then outlines the techniques used and the assumptions made to construct bilateral data on migrant labor by skills, remittances and wages. Once constructed the relationships within the migration data are examined. We draw on work undertaken on trade intensity indexes by Brown (1949), Kojima (1964), and Drysdale and Garnaut (1982) to analyze the intensity of labor migration between host and home country pairs. The results confirm that skilled labor migration is considerably more important than unskilled migration and that people migrate to both developed and developing economies. A method for further examining the reasons for the intensities is provided which decomposes the intensity indexes into a regional bias, a selection-skill bias and a region-skill bias. The decomposition shows that there are substantial regional biases in migration patterns resulting from historical ties and common borders. These regional biases are much greater than those which exist in trade.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev
Date: 2005
Note: GTAP Research Memorandum No. 06
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