International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States

Posted: 29 Mar 2005

See all articles by Daniel Chiquiar

Daniel Chiquiar

University of California at San Diego

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Abstract

We use the 1990 and 2000 Mexican and U.S. population censuses to test Borjas's negative-selection hypothesis that the less skilled are those most likely to migrate from countries with high skill premia/earnings inequality to countries with low skill premia/earnings inequality. We find that Mexican immigrants in the United States are more educated than nonmigrants in Mexico; and were Mexican immigrants to be paid according to current skill prices in Mexico, they would be concentrated in the middle of Mexico's wage distribution. These results are inconsistent with the negative-selection hypothesis and instead suggest that there is intermediate selection of immigrants from Mexico.

Suggested Citation

Chiquiar, Daniel and Hanson, Gordon H., International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 113, pp. 239-281, April 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=678862

Daniel Chiquiar

University of California at San Diego ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0502
United States

Gordon H. Hanson (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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