Three essays on the Return on investment in human capital of skilled immigrants in Quebec and internal labor migration in developing countries

Authors: Djuikom, Marie Albertine
Advisor: Lacroix, GuyFortin, Bernard
Abstract: This doctoral thesis is interested in international and internal migration. First, it focuses on the professional integration of immigrants in the category of skilled workers in Quebec. Quebec is one of the ten provinces of Canada that, like most other provinces, implemented a program back in 1996 that explicitly selected highly qualified workers based on particular characteristics such as the level of education (Bachelors’, Masters’ or PhD’s), work experience, French and/or English proficiency. Despite these skills that should facilitate their professional integration, 48% of immigrants return to school once they arrive in Quebec in order to obtain a university or college diploma. The first two chapters of this thesis investigates why these immigrants decide to go back to school with such an endowment of human capital and what the effects of this investment in education are on the job frequencies and job durations and, on the earnings profile. This thesis then focuses on the households participation in internal labor migration and the dynamic effect of this participation on the agricultural productivity of households living in rural area of Uganda. The first chapter investigates the extent to which the return to foreign-acquired human capital is different from the education acquired in Quebec. Specifically, it seeks to estimate the benefits of post-migration education over foreign-education on the transitions between qualified and unqualified jobs and unemployment by means of a multiple-spells and multiplestates model. Here, a qualified job is one that corresponds to the highest degree obtained by the immigrant before they come in Quebec. The main results suggest that immigrants originating from well-off countries have no need to further invest in domestic education. Meanwhile, immigrants from poor countries, despite being highly qualified, benefit greatly from such training in the long run as it eases their transitions into qualified and unqualified jobs and out of unemployment. Our results also indicate that selection in education must be taken into account in order to avoid significant selection problems. Unlike the first chapter in which only the average effect of schooling is estimated, the goal of the second chapter is to estimate the distribution of the causal effect of Quebec-acquired education on migrants’ earnings. In other words, it is possible to estimate an average effect for each individual by comparing his income in the case he has obtained a Quebec diploma to the situation where he has not obtained a diploma from Quebec, and vice versa. This is possible thanks to the introduction of the Bayesian approach in the treatment analysis allowing to account for the heterogeneity of the effect. The main results reveal that on average and for each immigrant, there is a negative gain to study in Quebec. However, the magnitude of the effect differs from one immigrant to another. Particularly, the gains tend to decrease with the likelihood of enrolling in school and with the level of ability. Thus, our results suggest that employers pay migrants not only based on their level of education or its origin but more importantly based on the quality of prior jobs held. Furthermore, one would expect immigrants to accept, right after their training, a relatively less paid job than the one he would have had given his education. While the Bayesian approach suggests that immigrants who have enrolled to obtain a university degree are the most negatively affected, the Frequentist approach suggests that those immigrants obtain the highest positive return from Quebec-acquired education. This raises again the issue of mis-evaluation when the essential heterogeneity is not taking into account. The goal of the third chapter is to estimate the distribution of the dynamic effect of household participation in internal labor migration on agricultural productivity in Uganda. Since household can have both observed and unobserved factors that can affect both the decision to participate or not in migration and the return from it, this study account for the heterogeneity of the effect. Results reveal that although, on average, internal labor migration positively affects agricultural productivity, there are households for which the effect is negative. In addition, households for which the effect is negative are mostly small farmers, therefore more likely to be poor and more likely to be subject to local price volatility. It seems that return to migration helps poor household to meet other needs. Moreover, the average effect of migration tends to increase with the probability of participating in internal migration, meaning that households decide to participate in migration because they anticipate higher future returns. At the same time, we also examine the extent to which past migration rates, widely used in the literature as an instrument for the decision to participate in migration, are exogenous to agricultural productivity. Results show that these variables are not exogenous because they are highly correlated with agricultural productivity.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 11 March 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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