Paternal Migration and Educational Attainment in Rural Mexico (Job Market Paper)

We examine the impact of international migration on education attainment of migrants’ children in rural communities using data from Mexican Migration Project (MMP143), with historical migration pattern and unemployment in popular destination as instruments. We find that if the father in a household has been a migrant worker, schooling of his children will decrease by about 1.3 years. This effect mainly comes from boys and older children, gets smaller if parents have completed more years of education and/or migrate earlier in children’s life. Our results provide support for two of the possible channels mentioned in the literature: the brain drain channel and the family disruption channel.

Poverty, Migration and Intergenerational Mobility

We study the effect of migration on two economies with persistent inequality. Each economy has two occupations, one requiring education while the other not. Because of the presence of TFP difference, some of the workers in the less-developed country have the incentive to migrate to the more-developed country. If the wage gap between two countries is larger in the skilled occupation, then a higher ratio of skilled workers in the emigration is actually good for the sending country. In other words, brain drain may be beneficial when the difference in incentive to move is sufficiently large for the two occupations. If this is true, then migration flows can not only reduce poverty by remittances, but also by encouraging education investment in the home country.

Optimal Education Incentive in the Presence of Migration: the Case in China

Currently, there are more than 260 million migrant workers in China. A large portion of these workers leave their children behind when working thousands of miles away. To prevent a brain-drain like consequence for the vast rural area of China, an education incentive plan, like Oportunidades in Mexico, is needed. We develop a model on how education incentive works in the presence of migrant flows to the city. Based on the model and data from China Household Income Project (CHIP), we offer policy suggestions.