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International Migration, Sex Ratios, and the Socioeconomic Outcomes of Non-migrant Mexican Women


  • Raphael, Steven


This paper assesses whether international migration from Mexico impacts the marital, fertility, schooling, and employment outcomes of the Mexican women who remain behind. To estimate the impact of the relative supply of men on female outcomes, I exploit variation over time as well as across Mexican states in the demographic imbalance between men and women. I construct a gauge of the relative supply of men for women of different age groups based on statelevel male and female population counts. Potential male spouses are allocated across female age groups based on the empirically-observed propensity of men of specific ages to marry women of specific ages. Using data from the 1960, 1970, 1990, and 2000 Mexican censuses, I estimate a series of models where the dependent variable is the inter-census change in an average outcome for Mexican women measured by state and for specific age groups and the key explanatory variable is the change in the relative supply of men to women in that state/age group. To address possible bias from selective out-migration of women in response to the scarcity of men, I also present results where the gauge of the relative supply of males is instrumented using a similar gauge calculated based on one’s state of birth rather than one’s current state of residence. I find that the declining relative supply of males positively and significantly impacts the proportion of women who have never been married as well as the proportion of women who have never had a child. In addition, states experiencing the largest declines in the relative supply of men also experience relatively large increases in female educational attainment and female employment rates. However, I find little evidence that women who do marry match to men that are younger or less educated than themselves.

Suggested Citation

  • Raphael, Steven, 2009. "International Migration, Sex Ratios, and the Socioeconomic Outcomes of Non-migrant Mexican Women," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt93s880fs, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt93s880fs

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Assimilation and Changes in Cohort Quality Revisited: What Happened to Immigrant Earnings in the 1980s?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 201-245, April.
    2. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 300-323, November.
    3. Ran Abramitzky & Adeline Delavande & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 124-157, July.
    4. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Ming Ching Luoh, 2010. "Male Incarceration, the Marriage Market, and Female Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 614-627, August.
    5. George J. Borjas, 2007. "Mexican Immigration to the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number borj06-1, June.
    6. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Derek Neal, 2004. "The Relationship Between Marriage Market Prospects and Never-Married Motherhood," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
    8. George J. Borjas, 2007. "Introduction to "Mexican Immigration to the United States"," NBER Chapters,in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 1-12 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
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