Self-selection, earnings, and out-migration: A longitudinal study of immigrants to Germany

Amelie Constant, Douglas S. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

240 Scopus citations


In this paper we examine the process of out-migration and investigate whether cross-sectional earnings assimilation results suffer from selection bias due to out-migration. Our 14 year longitudinal study reveals that emigrants are negatively selected with respect to occupational prestige and to stable full time employment. Our results show no selectivity with respect to human capital or gender. The likelihood of return migration is strongly determined by the range and nature of social attachments to Germany and origin countries. It is also the highest during the first five years since arrival, and grows higher toward retirement. Selective emigration, however, does not appear to distort cross-sectional estimates of earnings assimilation in a relevant way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-653
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Population Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Event history
  • Immigrant assimilation
  • Return migration


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