Latest Research Spotlight

The Selection of International Migrants

[Translate to Englisch:] JEEA

How do migrants differ from the population that remains in their country of origin? A new paper by Simon Wiederhold (BESH), together with Alexander Patt (IAB Nürnberg), Jens Ruhose (University of Kiel) and Miguel Flores (ITESM), addresses this question for the case of Mexicans migrating to the US. They find that the migrant Mexicans have better manual skills but lower cognitive skills than those who remain in Mexico. These results can be explained by the fact that the economic returns to manual skills for Mexicans are higher in the US than in Mexico; the opposite holds for cognitive skills. The selection of migrants is much better described by their occupational skills than by their formal education level or income. The paper was recently accepted for publication in the renowned Journal of the European Economic Association. The paper was also awarded the prestigious CESifo Young Affiliate Award.


Patt, Alexander, Jens Ruhose, Simon Wiederhold and Miguel Flores (2020). International Emigrant Selection on Occupational Skills. Journal of the European Economic Association, fortcoming.

Do Workers in Developing Countries Benefit from Trade?

[Translate to Englisch:] JDE

Can workers in developing countries take advantage of trade?

Alexander M. Danzer (BESH) and Robert Grundke (OECD) answer this question by using fluctuations in the world market price for cotton and identifying the effects of higher export prices on the wages of poor agricultural workers in the cotton harvest, using the example of Tajikistan. The increased demand for workers during the high price episode doubles wages for cotton pickers on small private farms, but has no impact on wages on large parastatal farms. The different treatment of workers is due to market power and the continued use of coerced labor in large companies during the cotton harvest. The research, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Development Economics, concludes that trade in developing countries produces winners and losers.


Danzer, Alexander M. and Robert Grundke (2020). Export price shocks and rural labor markets: The role of labor market distortions. Journal of Development Economics,  forthcoming