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Social Networks and the Intention to Migrate

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  • Miriam Manchin
  • Sultan Orazbayev

Abstract

Using a large individual-level survey spanning several years and more than 150 countries, we examine the importance of social networks in influencing individuals' intention to migrate internationally and locally. We distinguish close social networks (composed of friends and family) abroad and at the current location, and broad social networks (composed of same-country residents with intention to migrate, either internationally or locally). We find that social networks abroad are the most important driving forces of international migration intentions, with close and broad networks jointly explaining about 37% of variation in the probability intentions. Social networks are found to be more important factors driving migration intentions than work-related aspects or wealth (wealth accounts for less than 3% of the variation). In addition, we nd that having stronger close social networks at home has the opposite effect by reducing the likelihood of migration intentions, both internationally and locally.

Suggested Citation

  • Miriam Manchin & Sultan Orazbayev, 2018. "Social Networks and the Intention to Migrate," CID Working Papers 90a, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:90a
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    intention to migrate; social networks; international migration; local migration; remittances;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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