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Vincenzo CAPONI (CREST, IZA) – “Assortative Mating and Migration"

October 1, 2019 @ 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
The Microeconometrics Seminar: Every Tuesday at 12:15 pm.
Time: 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
Date: 1st of October 2019
Place: Room 3001.
Vincenzo CAPONI (CREST-ENSAI, IZA) personal website – “Assortative Mating and Migration”.

Abstract: Among American residents, women Mexican born tend to have higher fertility rates – total fertility rate (TFR) of about 2.7 much greater than their US born counterpart with a TFR of 2.0. Interestingly, the fertility rate of Mexicans resident in Mexico is closer to the fertility rate of American women – 2.1, than to rate of Mexican born US residents. Why do immigrants have more children? Other observations are also puzzling if coupled with this fact. Mexican born women who migrated to the US participate more to the labor force than Mexican stayers; the participation rate of immigrants relative to US or Mexican stayers decreases with education while the gap between the fertility rate of Mexican stayers and immigrants increases with education. Moreover, restricting the analysis to only couples, we can see that the probability of finding a Mexican born couple (or with at least one member born in Mexico) increases strongly with the education of the female spouse and is lower the closer is the level of education of both spouses. In this paper, I propose an explanation of these facts based on selection. One novelty of this explanation is that it explicitly takes into account the human capital composition within households. I model the household decision to migrate together with decisions on fertility, investments in children’s human capital and time allocation to market and household activities, where household activities are primarily intended to increase the human capital of children. The model proposed predicts that fertility is an increasing function of men’s human capital and decreasing of women’s. It also predicts that, generally, more educated couples tend to migrate more than lower educated ones. However, because of a loss of human capital faced by both spouses upon migration, they are both relatively less productive in market activity, although equally productive in household activities. This reduces the opportunity cost and shifts the allocation of resources towards child-rearing and fertility, explaining why immigrants women have higher fertility than natives in Mexico and the US, and, given the correlation between the education of spouses, why this gap increases by education. The model also introduces a fertility cost based on reduced time available for work, which through “multitasking” favors time spent in household activities. This cost is biased against women and give them an incentive to specialize in child-rearing when migrants. This explains why the incentive to migrate is stronger when women are more educated, as they specialize more on the human capital production of future generations. Men, on the other hand, need to specialize in market activities where their human capital acquired in Mexico is heavily discounted, hence their selection on education is weaker. It also follows that sorting in mating is not as strong for migrants as it is for stayers, hence the higher probability to find un-sorted couples among migrants.

Xavier D’Haultfoeuille (CREST), Benoit Schmutz (CREST), & Lucas Girard (CREST)
Lunch registration:
food provided, no registration