Refugees’ Self-Selection into Europe: Who Migrates Where?
75 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019
Date Written: April 17, 2019
About 1.4 million refugees and irregular migrants arrived in Europe in 2015 and 2016. We model how refugees and irregular migrants are self-selected. Using unique datasets from the International Organization for Migration and Gallup World Polls, we provide the first large-scale evidence on reasons to emigrate, and the self-selection and sorting of refugees and irregular migrants for multiple origin and destination countries. Refugees and female irregular migrants are positively self-selected with respect to education, while male irregular migrants are not. We also find that both male and female migrants from major conflict countries are positively self-selected in terms of their predicted income. For countries with minor or no conflict, migrant and non-migrant men do not differ in terms of their income distribution. We also analyze how border controls affect destination country choice.
Keywords: Refugees, self-selection, human capital, predicted income
JEL Classification: J15, J24, O15
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