DP6675 Immigrant Selection in The OECD

Author(s): Michèle Belot, Timothy J. Hatton
Publication Date: February 2008
Keyword(s): Immigration, Skill Selection
JEL(s): F22, J15, J61
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6675

The selection of immigrants by skill and education is a central issue in the analysis of immigration. Since highly educated immigrants tend to be more successful in host country labour markets and less of a fiscal cost it is important to know what determines the skill-selectivity of immigration. In this paper we examine the proportions of highly educated among migrants from around 80 source countries who were observed as immigrants in each of 29 OECD countries in 2000/1. We develop a variant of the Roy model to estimate the determinants of educational selectivity by source and destination country. We also estimate the determinants of the share of migrants from different source countries in each destination country’s immigrant stock. Two key findings emerge. One is that the effects of the skill premium, which is at the core of the Roy model, can be observed only after we take account of poverty constraints operating in source countries. The other is that cultural links and distance are often more important determinants of the proportion of high educated immigrants in different OECD countries than wage incentives or policy.