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All in the family: Self-selection and migration by couples

Authors


  • The authors wish to thank Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis for providing access to data. Eliasson and Westerlund acknowledge financial support from the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems and the Swedish Research Council through the Aging and Living Conditions (ALC) program. The authors also thank David Zimmer for general advice and assistance, as well as help in software development. The authors also wish to thank the anonymous referees for this paper, whose insights and diligence made our work materially better.

Abstract

This paper examines determinants of couple migration in a model that accounts for self-selection of migrant couples. The study is based on a sample of married couples from the Swedish population. The model incorporates controls for earnings of both spouses preceding the move, and explicitly addresses unmeasured heterogeneity in the family decision to migrate. Two statistical formulations are presented. In the first version, migration is measured as a dichotomous move/stay decision. A second formulation replaces the dichotomous indicator with the distance moved by migrants. Results suggest that family migration is selective of relatively low earning wives with unmeasured potential for strong earnings.

Resumen

Este trabajo analiza los determinantes de la migración en pareja mediante un modelo que tiene en cuenta la auto-selección de las parejas de migrantes. El estudio se basa en una muestra de parejas casadas de la población sueca. El modelo incorpora controles para los ingresos de ambos cónyuges previos al traslado, y de manera explícita aborda la heterogeneidad no medida en la decisión familiar de emigrar. Se presentan dos formulaciones estadísticas. En la primera versión, la migración se mide como una decisión dicotómica de moverse o quedarse. Una segunda formulación reemplaza el indicador dicotómico por la distancia recorrida por los migrantes. Los resultados sugieren que la migración familiar es selectiva en cuanto a las esposas con ingresos relativamente bajos que disponen de un potencial no determinado de obtener grandes ingresos.

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