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Selection in initial and return migration: Evidence from moves across Spanish cities

By Jorge De la Roca

Abstract

This paper investigates the sorting of more productive workers into denser cities using administrative data for Spain that follow individuals continuously throughout their working lives. Migrants who move to denser cities are positively selected in terms of education, occupational skills, and individual productivity as proxied by premigration position in the local earnings distribution. However, not everyone is able to benefit equally from denser cities and this leads to a second round of sorting. Returnees are not only exante less productive than permanent migrants, but are also those who, following the first move, have least boosted up their earnings in denser cities.selection; urban migration; return migration; skill sorting

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