Intentions to Return of Undocumented Migrants: Illegality as a Cause of Skill Waste

43 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2006

See all articles by Nicola D. Coniglio

Nicola D. Coniglio

Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro” (UNIBA) - Department of Economics and Mathematical Methods

Giuseppe De Arcangelis

Sapienza Università di Roma

Laura Serlenga

Università degli Studi di Bari; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

In this paper we show that highly skilled undocumented migrants are more likely to return home than migrants with low or no skills when illegality causes "skill waste," i.e., when illegality reduces the rate of return of individual capabilities (i.e., skills and human capital) in both the labor and the financial markets of the country of destination. This proposition is first illustrated in a simple life-cycle framework, where illegality acts as a tax on skills, and then is tested on a sample of apprehended immigrants that crossed unlawfully the Italian borders in 2003. The estimation confirms that the intention to return to the home country is more likely for highly skilled than low-skill illegal immigrants. The presence of migration networks in the destination country may lower the skill-waste effect. The empirical result of this paper contrasts with the common wisdom on return decisions of legal migrants, according to which low-skill individuals are more likely to go back home rather than highly skilled migrants.

Keywords: illegal migration, labor skills, survey data

JEL Classification: F22, C25

Suggested Citation

Coniglio, Nicola D. and De Arcangelis, Giuseppe and Serlenga, Laura, Intentions to Return of Undocumented Migrants: Illegality as a Cause of Skill Waste (October 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2356, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=938995

Nicola D. Coniglio (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro” (UNIBA) - Department of Economics and Mathematical Methods ( email )

Largo Abbey St. Scholastica
Bari, 70124
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.dse.uniba.it/Corsi/docenti/Coniglio/Nicola_paginaWeb.htm

Giuseppe De Arcangelis

Sapienza Università di Roma ( email )

Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali ed Economiche
P.le Aldo Moro 5
Rome, 00185
Italy
+390649910489 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/a/uniroma1.it?pli=1

Laura Serlenga

Università degli Studi di Bari ( email )

Piazza Umberto I
Bari, 70121
Italy

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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