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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Educational Self-Selection Among US Immigrants and Returning Migrants
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
URL http://www.aguilaresteva.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Stayers_and_Returners_v21Apr12.pdf
This paper empirically examines the educational selectivity of United States immigrants
and of those that return to their source country from a historical perspective.
Data from the 1970 to 2000 U.S. census, the 2010 American Community Survey, and
the Barro and Lee (2010) International Data on Education Attainment are employed.
Ten countries are selected for the study based on their historical and contemporaneous
importance on U.S. migration. To determine the type of selection of incoming immigrants,
the schooling distribution of recently arrived immigrants is compared to that
of same-aged individuals at the source country. The selectivity of returning migrants
is estimated using repeated cross-section data to examine changes through time in the
distribution of schooling of synthetic immigrant entry cohorts. The synthetic cohorts
are defined by age, country of birth, and first year of arrival to the United States.
The results generally indicate positive selection on educational attainment of recentlyarrived
immigrants, being China, India, and Philippines the most prominent examples.
Mexico, the highest contributor of contemporaneous immigrant population, does not
show evidence of positive or negative selection, but their immigrants’ selectivity has
worsened through time. Historically, the educational selectivity of returning migrants
accentuated the positive selection of those migrants that stay in the United States for a
longer term in most countries’ cases. However, this positive selection of the immigrant
population that stays in the U.S. has recently declined and in some country’s cases
even disappeared. Yet, no evidence of negative selection of immigrants that stay in the
U.S. is found.

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