Are Migrants More Skilled than Non-Migrants? Repeat, Return and Same-Employer Migrants

Jennifer Hunt

NBER Working Paper No. 10633
Issued in July 2004
NBER Program(s):   LS

I examine the determinants of inter-state migration of adults within western Germany, using the German Socio-Economic Panel from 1984-2000. I highlight the prevalence and distinctive characteristics of migrants who do not change employers. Same-employer migrants represent one fifth of all migrants higher education and pre-move wages than non-migrants. Conditional on age, same-employer migrants are therefore more skilled than non-migrants. By contrast, although other migrants have higher education than non-migrants, they do not have higher pre-move wages. Furthermore, they have in their ranks disproportionate numbers of the non-employed, unemployed and recently laid off. It therefore seems inappropriate to characterize them as more skilled than non-migrants. The results for same-employer migrants indicate that skilled workers have a low-cost migration avenue that has not been considered in the previous literature. I also analyze the relation between repeat and return migration and distinguish between short and long-distance migration. I confirm that long-distance migrants are more skilled than short-distance migrants, as predicted by theory, and I show that return migrants are a mix of successes and failures.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10633

Published: Hunt, Jennifer. "Are Migrants More Skilled Non-Migrants? Repeat, Return, And Same-Employer Migrants," Canadian Journal of Economics, 2004, v37(4,Nov), 830-849. citation courtesy of

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