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Migrant Networks and International Migration: Testing Weak Ties

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  • Mao-Mei Liu

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Abstract

This article examines the role of migrant social networks in international migration and extends prior research by testing the strength of tie theory, decomposing networks by sources and resources, and disentangling network effects from complementary explanations. Nearly all previous empirical research has ignored friendship ties and has largely neglected extended-family ties. Using longitudinal data from the Migration between Africa and Europe project collected in Africa (Senegal) and Europe (France, Italy, and Spain), this article tests the robustness of network theory—and in particular, the role of weak ties—on first-time migration between Senegal and Europe. Discrete-time hazard model results confirm that weak ties are important and that network influences appear to be gendered, but they do not uphold the contention in previous literature that strong ties are more important than weak ties for male and female migration. Indeed, weak ties play an especially important role in male migration. In terms of network resources, having more resources as a result of strong ties appears to dampen overall migration, while having more resources as a result of weaker ties appears to stimulate male migration. Finally, the diversity of resources has varied effects for male and female migration. Copyright Population Association of America 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Mao-Mei Liu, 2013. "Migrant Networks and International Migration: Testing Weak Ties," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1243-1277, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:50:y:2013:i:4:p:1243-1277
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-013-0213-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Filiz Garip, 2008. "Social capital and migration: How do similar resources lead to divergent outcomes?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(3), pages 591-617, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simone Cremaschi & Carlo Devillanova, 2016. "Immigrants and Legal Status: Do Personal Contacts Matter?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1629, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Mao-Mei Liu & Mathew J. Creighton & Fernando Riosmena & Pau Baizán, 2016. "Prospects for the comparative study of international migration using quasi-longitudinal micro-data," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(26), pages 745-782, September.
    3. Rebecca Lessem & Brian Cadena & Brian Kovak & Shan Li, 2018. "Migration networks and Mexican migrants' spatial mobility in the US," 2018 Meeting Papers 196, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Pau Baizán & Amparo González-Ferrer, 2016. "What drives Senegalese migration to Europe? The role of economic restructuring, labor demand, and the multiplier effect of networks," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(13), pages 339-380, August.
    5. Manchin, Miriam & Orazbayev, Sultan, 2018. "Social networks and the intention to migrate," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 360-374.
    6. Aubrey D. Tabuga, 2018. "The Structure of Origin-Based Social Network and Its Influence on Migration Diffusion: The Case of a Migrant-Sending Village in the Philippines," Working Papers id:12853, eSocialSciences.
    7. Tabuga, Aubrey, D., 2018. "The Structure of Origin-Based Social Network and Its Influence on Migration Diffusion: The Case of a Migrant-Sending Village in the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2018-03, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

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    Keywords

    Migration; Networks; Social capital; Weak ties; Africa;

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