How Labor Migrants Fare

Part of the series Population Economics pp 73-95

Self-selection, earnings, and out-migration: A longitudinal study of immigrants to Germany

  • Amelie ConstantAffiliated withPopulation Studies Center University of PennsylvaniaIZA
  • , Douglas S. MasseyAffiliated withOffice of Population Research, Princeton University

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In this paper we examine the process of out-migration and investigate whether cross-sectional earnings assimilation results suffer from selection bias due to out-migration. Our 14 year longitudinal study reveals that emigrants are negatively selected with respect to occupational prestige and to stable full time employment. Our results show no selectivity with respect to human capital or gender. The likelihood of return migration is strongly determined by the range and nature of social attachments to Germany and origin countries. It is also the highest during the first five years since arrival, and grows higher toward retirement. Selective emigration, however, does not appear to distort cross-sectional estimates of earnings assimilation in a relevant way.

Key words

Return migration immigrant assimilation event history

JEL classification

J61 J2 C4