Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 244: Internal Migration and Human Capital Theory: To What Extent Is It Selective

Martin Korpi () and William Clark ()
Additional contact information
Martin Korpi: The Ratio institute, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden
William Clark: UCLA, Postal: California Center for Population Research, University of California, Los Angeles

Abstract: Empirical studies of international labor migration, modelling average outcomes, suggest migrants move to enhance returns to their labor. In contrast, major international surveys show less than a third of internal migrants as motivated by employment reasons. Using Swedish panel data for the years 2001-2009, this paper addresses this disconnect by examining the full distribution of migrant income changes. Results from initial CEM matching and quantile regression suggest that large returns to internal migration are mostly captured by the higher educated. Much if not most of migration outcomes are however a wash and indeed often negative in terms of pay – off. This suggests models of average outcomes as insufficient in addressing human capital motivated migration.

Keywords: migration; human capital; labor mobility; urban rural

JEL-codes: J24; J31; J61; R12

15 pages, December 31, 2014

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ko_cl_migration_human_capital_244.pdf PDF-file 

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