Michel A. R. Beine
University of Luxemburg; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
Catholic University of Louvain (UCL); CREAM, Centre for Research on Environmental Appraisal & Management, UK; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
World Bank - Research Department; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)
April 1, 2009
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2607
Migration flows are shaped by a complex combination of self-selection and out-selection mechanisms. In this paper, we analyze how existing diasporas (the stock of people born in a country and living in an another one) affect the size and human-capital structure of current migration flows. Our analysis exploits a bilateral data set on international migration by educational attainment from 195 countries to 30 OECD countries in 1990 and 2000. Based on simple micro-foundations and controlling for various determinants of migration, we find diasporas increase migration flows, lower their average educational level and lead to higher concentration of low-skill migrants. Interestingly, diasporas explain majority of the variability of migration flows and selection. This suggests that, without changing the generosity of family reunion programs, education-based selection rules are likely to have moderate impact. Our results are highly robust to the econometric techniques, accounting for the large proportion of zeros and endogeneity problems.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: migration, self-selection, network/diaspora externalities
JEL Classification: F22, O15
Date posted: April 15, 2009
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