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What Do Networks Do? The Role of Networks on Migration and "Coyote" Use

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  • Sarah Dolfin
  • Garance Genicot

Abstract

While a large literature has established that migration experience among an individual's family and community networks tends to encourage migration, there is little research investigating the mechanism by which networks exert such effects. This paper aims to determine the relative importance of three potential benefits provided by networks: information on border crossing, information on jobs, and credit. We develop empirical tests of these effects based on a simple model that allows individuals to choose between migrating alone or with the help of a border smuggler. Using a dataset of undocumented Mexican migrants to the United States, we find that larger family networks encourage both migration and coyote use, consistent with the job information hypothesis. In contrast, community networks appear to provide crossing information. The finding that family networks have a smaller impact for asset holders indicates that some of the benefit the family network provides is a source of credit. Copyright © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Dolfin & Garance Genicot, 2010. "What Do Networks Do? The Role of Networks on Migration and "Coyote" Use," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 343-359, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:14:y:2010:i:2:p:343-359
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Arcand, Jean-Louis & Mbaye, Linguère Mously, 2013. "Braving the Waves: The Role of Time and Risk Preferences in Illegal Migration from Senegal," IZA Discussion Papers 7517, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Catia Batista & Francesco Cestari, 2016. "Migrant intentions to return: The role of migrant social networks," FEUNL Working Paper Series novaf:wp1602, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    3. Linguère Mbaye, 2014. "“Barcelona or die”: understanding illegal migration from Senegal," IZA Journal of Migration, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-19, December.
    4. Stark, Oded & Jakubek, Marcin, 2013. "Migration networks as a response to financial constraints: Onset, and endogenous dynamics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 1-7.
    5. Neubecker, Nina & Smolka, Marcel, 2013. "Co-national and cross-national pulls in international migration to Spain," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 51-61.
    6. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
    7. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:1265-1286 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Neubecker, Nina & Smolka, Marcel, 2012. "Co-national and transnational networks in international migration to Spain," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 46, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
    9. Sanne Hiller, 2014. "The Export Promoting Effect of Emigration: Evidence from Denmark," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 693-708, November.
    10. Zhang, Yi & Matz, Julia Anna, 2017. "On the train to brain gain in rural China," Discussion Papers 252443, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    11. Neubecker, Nina & Smolka, Marcel & Steinbacher, Anne, 2012. "Networks and selection in international migration to Spain," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 35, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
    12. Dagnelie, Olivier & Mayda, Anna Maria & Maystadt, Jean-François, 2018. "The labor market integration of refugees to the United States: Do entrepreneurs in the network help?," CEPR Discussion Papers 12735, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Linguère M'BAYE & Jean-Louis ARCAND, 2011. "Braving the waves: The economics of clandestine migration from Africa," Working Papers 201104, CERDI.
    14. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran & Viarengo, Martina, 2013. "The Making of Modern America: Migratory Flows in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 23-47.
    15. Margherita Comola & Mariapia Mendola, 2013. "The Formation of Migrant Networks," Development Working Papers 353, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    16. Giulietti, Corrado & Wahba, Jackline & Zenou, Yves, 2014. "Strong versus Weak Ties in Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 8089, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Ying Pan, 2011. "Born with The Right Surname: Lineage Networks and Political and Economic Opportunities in Rural China," Departmental Working Papers 2011-15, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    18. Verônica De Castro Lameira & Eduardo Gonçalves & Ricardo Da Silva Freguglia, 2016. "Migratory Effectiveness In The Labor Market: Evidence From Brazil," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 228, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    19. Catia Batista & Francesco Cestari, 2016. "Migrant intentions to return: The role of migrant social networks," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1602, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    20. Calero, Carla & Bedi, Arjun S. & Sparrow, Robert, 2009. "Remittances, Liquidity Constraints and Human Capital Investments in Ecuador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1143-1154, June.
    21. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "Self-Selection Patterns in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Role of Migration Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 811-821, November.
    22. Guido, Friebel & Miriam, Manchin & Mariapia, Mendola & Giovanni, Prarolo, 2017. "Human Smuggling and Intentions to Migrate: Global Evidence from a Supply Shock along Africa-to-Europe Migration Routes," Working Papers 375, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 06 Dec 2017.
    23. Duval, Laetitia & Wolff, François-Charles, 2015. "Ethnicity and remittances: Evidence from Kosovo," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 334-349.
    24. Sophia Kan, 2016. "Improving health in Tajikistan: remittances trump other income," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 206, Courant Research Centre PEG.

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