Are young internal migrants 'favourably' selected? Evidence from four developing countries

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Internal migrants are primarily young people. During the transition to adulthood, they also make important choices regarding education, labour force participation, and family formation. Using a unique panel dataset on youth born in 1994-95 in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam, this paper investigates whether young migrants are ‘positively’ self-selected in observable characteristics, specifically on educational attainment. First, I document patterns on prevalence, frequency, timing, reasons and streams of migration. Second, I describe the factors associated with young people’s reasons for migrating. Results suggest that ‘favourable’ self-selection only holds for those that move for education: a year of schooling is associated with a higher probability of moving for studies, while an extra year of education is correlated with a lower probability of moving for family formation. In sum, migrants are a heterogeneous group as there are systematic differences in the characteristics across them depending on their reasons for moving.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalOxford Development Studies
Early online date25 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Dec 2022

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