Taking the Skill Bias out of Global Migration


Global migration is heavily skill-biased, with tertiary-educated workers being four times more likely to migrate than workers with a lower education. In this paper, we quantify the global impact of this skill bias in migration. Based on a quantitative multi-country model with trade, remittances and human capital externalities, we compare the current world to a counterfactual with the same number of migrants, where all migrants are neutrally selected from their countries of origin. The skill bias in migration increases welfare in virtually all OECD countries, while the effects on non-OECD countries are more subtle. They are negative in many countries but positive in countries where migration-based externalities are strong. We find the global effect of the skill-bias to be unambiguously positive.

Journal of Development Economics, 142, 102317
Benjamin Elsner
Benjamin Elsner

My research interests are migration, human capital, and environmental economics matter.