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Can Public Transfers Reduce Mexican Migration? A study based on randomized experimental data

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Author Info

  • Guy Stecklov
  • Paul Winters
  • Marco Stampini
  • Benjamin Davis

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

Abstract

Prior research on Mexican migration has shown that social networks and economic incentives play an important role in determining migration outcomes. This study utilizes experimental data on PROGRESA, Mexico's primary poverty reduction program, to evaluate the effects of public cash transfers on migration. Our study complements a growing body of literature aimed at overcoming longstanding hurdles towards the establishment of causal validity in empirical studies of migration. We find that public cash transfers reduce US migration but have little effect on domestic migration. Furthermore, we find that the provision of cash transfers appears to reduce migration partly by reducing the relative deprivation levels of poor households. Finally, we find that the effect of public cash transfers on US migration depend on the size of existing US migration networks. Surprisingly, we see that transfers have larger (more negative) effects on US migration in communities with large existing networks. The results suggest that public transfers may be helpful in managing rural out-migration, particularly to the US. Interestingly, such programs may be most effective if they are targeted towards communities with strong existing migration patterns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA) in its series Working Papers with number 03-16.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0316

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Related research

Keywords: Debt; Economics; Income transfers; Mexico; Migration; Poverty; Rural urban migration; Social conditions; Social policies; Urban rural migration;

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References

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  1. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  2. Benjamin Davis & Paul Winters, 2002. "Gender, Networks and Mexico-US Migration," Working Papers 02-03, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  3. James P. Smith & Duncan Thomas, 2003. "Remembrances of things past: test-retest reliability of retrospective migration histories," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 166(1), pages 23-49.
  4. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
  5. Stark, Oded & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1982. "Migration, growth, distribution and welfare," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(3-4), pages 243-249.
  6. Katharine Donato & Jorge Durand & Douglas Massey, 1992. "Stemming the tide? Assessing the deterrent effects of the immigration reform and control act," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 139-157, May.
  7. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Davis, Benjamin & de la Vega, Sergio, 2001. "Targeting the Poor in Mexico: An Evaluation of the Selection of Households into PROGRESA," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1769-1784, October.
  8. Stark, Oded & Bloom, David E, 1985. "The New Economics of Labor Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 173-78, May.
  9. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
  10. Peter Mueser, 1989. "Measuring the impact of locational characteristics on migration: Interpreting cross-sectional analyses," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 499-513, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Angelucci, Manuela, 2004. "Aid and Migration: An Analysis of the Impact of Progresa on the Timing and Size of Labour Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 1187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Oliver, Azuara, 2009. "Does Poverty Alleviation Increase Migration? Evidence from Mexico," MPRA Paper 17599, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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