Selection into Internal and International Migration of Young Individuals: Evidence using Novel Survey Data

This paper studies the self-selection intentions into internal and international migration of young individuals in their school-to-work transition from the South of Spain -one of the areas with highest youth unemployment rates in the EU. I use a rich dataset that includes personal, academic and family background characteristics, as well as individuals’ beliefs about labor market outcomes in their home region and migration destination. Results indicate that having a higher GPA and being from a high socioeconomic status predict individuals’ intention to migrate internationally, but not internally. Despite being positively selected, students who plan to migrate internationally have the most pessimistic views about their career prospects in their home region. With their migration plans, they expect higher labor market returns to migration than internal migrants. International migrants are more likely than internal migrants to plan a long-term migration as opposed to a temporary migration. My results suggest a future brain drain from the region as well as from the country.

Geographic Job Search differences by Socioeconomic Status

High socioeconomic status university graduates are more likely to migrate internationally than their lower socioeconomic status counterparts. As a result, low socioeconomic status individuals could be left behind, despite being university graduates, in countries with high youth unemployment rates. This limits the university's role as a tool to foster social mobility. I study the mechanisms underlying university graduates' different geographic location choices by socioeconomic status. I use an information experiment to investigate the role of information frictions and study credit constraints and other costs (e.g., knowledge of the language) as alternative mechanisms.