Male and Female Self-Selection During the Portuguese Mass Migration, 1885-1930
30 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2022 Last revised: 23 Jan 2023
Date Written: January 23, 2023
This paper examines the evolution and determinants of migrant self-selection by gender during the age of mass migration. Using newly digitised district-level data on emigration from Portugal, we construct a literacy-based self-selection index and document
three stylized facts: (i) average self-selection was positive throughout 1885-1930; (ii) men were more positively self-selected than women during 1885-1915 but similarly thereafter; (iii) aggregate self-selection measures mask substantial variation across districts and time.
Our econometric analysis shows that self-selection was negatively associated with both the size of migrant flows and the share of migrants going to Brazil, while emigration to Africa was related to more positive selection. The decreasing importance of flows to Brazil in favor of Europe after 1915 may partly explain the vanishing of differences in self-selection between men and women.
Keywords: Migration, self-selection, women, Portugal
JEL Classification: N10, F22, I20
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