Self-selection in migration: The role of unobservable skills of Gauteng’s migrant population

Working paper 718
Author(s): 
Nwabisa Nontenja and Umakrishnan Kollamparambil
Publication date: 
October, 2017

The present study sought to investigate self-selection among internal and international migrants in Gauteng by making use of the Gauteng City Region Quality of Life Survey data. The present study also sought to disentangle the effects of observed and unobserved characteristics in the self-selection of migrants by conducting Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition on overall employment and self-employment outcome variables. Preliminary descriptive statistics indicated that international migrants experienced markedly higher levels of employment than both locals and internal migrants driven by higher rates of informal and self-employment. System GMM analysis of pseudo panel data confirmed these results and showed that international migrants had a higher probability of employment and self-employment. Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition indicated that unobserved characteristics explained the greatest share of the differences in the rates employment and self-employment of locals, internal migrants and international migrants. These results provide evidence for the positive selection of international migrants to Gauteng on unobservable characteristics relevant to the region's labour market.

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