Research Papers

Family Reunification or Point-based Immigration System? The Case of the U.S. and Mexico(Get a copy here)

While the immigration policy in the U.S. is mainly oriented to family reunification, in Australia, Canada and the U.K. it is a points-based immigration system which main objective is to attract high skilled immigrants. This paper compares both immigration policies through the transition for the U.S. and Mexico. I find that: (i) The point system increases the average years of the immigrants by 3.5 years. (ii) Migration reduces inequality, more significantly if the immigration policy is the point system and increases output per capita differences between both countries. (iii) The offspring of the immigrants invest more in human capital than the U.S. natives. (iv) The earnings ratio immigrants to U.S. natives is lower under the quota system than under the point system but along the transition it reverses.

A Macroeconomic Analysis on Immigrants' Self-Selection and its Implications(Get a copy here)

This paper investigates the interaction between human capital accumulation and labor mobility across countries. To this end, I build a model economy with two locations populated by households that make decisions on migration and their level of human capital. The model economy considers two sources of self-selection, years of scooling (observable) and ability (unobservable). Positive self-selection on years of schooling and ability arises when differences in TFP between the source economy and the host economy are relatively small, but if these differences increase, then self-selection becomes negative on years of schooling although remains positive on ability. I also find that investment in human capital is higher in a world where households can migrate from one location to another than in a world where they cannot which gives evidence in favor to the induced education hypothesis in the brain drain literature. I quantify the effect of the brain drain on differences in output per capita across countries and find that migration decreases output per capita differences across countries. Finally, the quantitative implications of the model are contrasted to data on immigrants from Mexico to the U.S. and the model is able to generate the observed self-selection pattern between these two countries. 

The Effect of International Trade Barriers on Migration Flows (with Antonia Díaz and Fernando Perera-Tallo)

This paper analyzes the effects of trade barriers in international trade by considering labor mobility across countries. A well-known result in international trade theory is that if trade takes place between a large economy and a small economy, the former can improve its terms of trade by imposing trade barriers without incurring any costs. In our dynamic model this result holds when the possibility of migration flows is not considered. But, since trade barriers increase wage differences across economies, we allow for labor mobility and find that trade barriers foster migration from South to North. This migration flow represents a significant extra effect that has to be considered. The result is that labor per capita decreases in the North due to migration flows and, therefore, per capita income and the per capita publicly provided good also decrease. Then, the North is hit by its own trade policy so the main implication of the model is that concern should not be on migration flows but on trade barriers.

Migration and InequalityThis paper studies how migration and inequality affect each other. First, it studies the effect of differences in within country inequality across countries on migration. Second, it studies the effect of migration on inequality in the immigrants' source country. To this end, a dynamic international economy with a large country and a small country is built. The small economy differs in its TFP ratio to the large economy with three different TFP ratios being considered in this study. Households decide investment in physical capital, in human capital and decide whether to migrate to the large economy. Results find that the migration rate is higher when both countries have similar inequality levels and that migration reduces inequality in the small economy.