Who went where? Jewish immigration from the Former Soviet Union to Israel, the USA and Germany, 1990–2000
Topics: Main Topic: Demography and Migration, Russian-Speaking Jews, Russian Emigration, Immigration
Abstract: Drawing on Israeli, German and US census data, we compare the educational levels of Jewish immigrants (and their non-Jewish family members) from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) arriving in Israel, Germany, and the US during 1990–2000. The comparison of educational levels among immigrants arriving in the three countries can be viewed as a ‘natural experiment’ in immigrants' destination options, whereby immigrants could choose two countries with practically no visa restriction (Israel and Germany) and one country (USA) with visa requirements. Drawing on Borjas' theory of self-selection, the paper discusses the relative attractiveness of the three countries to various types of immigrants, expecting highly educated immigrants to prefer destinations where returns on skills are higher. The findings support theoretical expectations: highly educated migrants were more likely to move to the US, where the labour market is more flexible and returns on skills are higher than in Israel or Germany.