Dec 28, 2011

Are skilled women more migratory than skilled men?

This is the conclusion of the paper: Are skilled women more migratory than skilled men? by Docquier et al. Forthcoming in "World Development."
In this paper we have empirically addressed the following question: are skilled women qualitatively and quantitatively different from skilled men with respect to international migration? To do so, we have built on a structural system of symultaneous equations able to control not only for some gender specific characteristics beside the standard determi- nants of international labor mobility but also for the interdependencies between women and men’s decisions. We had indeed in mind some kind of assortative matching process between females and males that cannot be neglected. Our results suggest that women and men do not respond in the same way to the same push factors. First of all, women tend to follow men in a more intensive way than the other way round. This corresponds to what happens in the context of family reunion programs for example, where many more women are admitted abroad with respect to men. It also reflects the common presumption that associates females to some ‘biological vulnerability’, in the sense that women would bene- fit more than do men from travelling accompanied or from information about safe routes. But, complementary to this outcome, our analysis has also shown that females cannot be seen just as passive migrants. Indeed, being other factors equal, they seem to be more positevely selected than men. Finally, from a quantitative viewpoint, the hypothesis that skilled women are more migratory than skilled men is rejected by both traditional and a counterfactual exercise, excluding the presence of a genetic or social female biased gender gap in the brain drain.

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