An International Perspective
Edited by Jonathan Corcoran and Alessandra Faggian
Chapter 10: Human-capital migration and salaries: an examination of US college graduates
This chapter is the first analysis of graduate mobility patterns in the United States with a focus on unveiling the role that inter-regional migration plays in shaping graduate salaries. By classifying graduates into five groups based on their sequential migration behaviour first from their pre-university state to college and then from college to their current job location, results reveal that most migratory individuals – that is, ‘repeat migrants’ – benefit from the highest wage premium both in terms of mean (16.3 per cent) and median salary (13.2 per cent). Results also point to other migration behaviours attracting wage premiums, although these vary according to the type of graduate. In particular, domestic graduates benefit more from return migration (an 11.3 per cent increase in mean salary) than repeat migration (10.1 per cent) possibly because of network and family effects in the state of domicile. Overall we find that migration behaviour does influence labour-market outcomes and salaries in particular. Geographical space – in this case represented by migration flows – matters, and should always be included in analyses. This study is a first step towards gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the role that migration plays in shaping the spatial distribution and dynamics of human capital across the United States. This is particularly important given that the United States is the world’s largest education market that continues to experience marked growth.
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