Selection in Initial & Return Migration

Evidence from Moves Across Spanish Cities

+ Jorge De la Roca


This paper investigates the contribution of migration to the sorting of more productive workers into bigger cities using administrative data for Spain that follow workers over their lives. Migrants to bigger cities are positively selected in terms of education, occupational skills, and individual productivity as proxied by their pre-migration position in the local earnings distribution. However, not everyone benefits equally from bigger cities and this leads to a second round of sorting. Returnees are not only ex-ante less productive than permanent migrants, but are also those who, following the first move, have least boosted up their earnings in bigger cities.


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Jorge De la Roca is a recent graduate from CEMFI PhD in Economics program and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, New York University. 

Tile image courtesy of Antonio García via Flickr.

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