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Herd Effects or Migration Networks? The Location Choice of Mexican Immigrants in the US

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  • Bauer, Thomas
  • Epstein, Gil S
  • Gang, Ira

Abstract

This Paper addresses the question: why and where do immigrants cluster? We examine the relative importance and interaction of two alternative explanations of immigrant clustering: (1) network externalities and (2) herd behavior. We advance the theory by presenting a framework encompassing both network and herd effects, and by delineating various types of network and herd effects in our empirical work. In order to distinguish between herd and network externalities, we use the Mexican Migration Project data. Our empirical results show that both network externalities and herds have significant effects on the migrant’s decision of where to migrate. Moreover, the significance and size of the effects vary according to the legal status of the migrant and whether the migrant is a ‘new’ or a ‘repeat’ migrant. The network-externality effect has an inverse U shape, not simply a linear positive effect as often presented in the literature. Neglecting herds and/or networks, or the inverse U shape of network effects leads to faulty conclusions about migrant behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Bauer, Thomas & Epstein, Gil S & Gang, Ira, 2002. "Herd Effects or Migration Networks? The Location Choice of Mexican Immigrants in the US," CEPR Discussion Papers 3505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3505
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bauer, Thomas & Gang, Ira, 1998. "Temporary Migrants from Egypt: How Long Do They Stay Abroad?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2003, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Paul Winters & Alain de Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2001. "Family and Community Networks in Mexico-U.S. Migration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 159-184.
    3. Francisco Rivera-Batiz & Myeong-Su Yun & Ira Gang, 2002. "Economic Strain, Ethnic Concentration and Attitudes Towards Foreigners in the European Union," Departmental Working Papers 200214, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    4. Epstein, Gil S, 2002. "Informational Cascades and Decision to Migrate," CEPR Discussion Papers 3287, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-391, October.
    6. Bauer, Thomas K. & Lofstrom, Magnus & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2000. "Immigration Policy, Assimilation of Immigrants and Natives' Sentiments towards Immigrants: Evidence from 12 OECD-Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Katharine Donato & Jorge Durand & Douglas Massey, 1992. "Stemming the tide? Assessing the deterrent effects of the immigration reform and control act," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(2), pages 139-157, May.
    8. McFadden, Daniel, 1974. "The measurement of urban travel demand," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 303-328, November.
    9. Gang, Ira N & Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L, 1994. "Labor Market Effects of Immigration in the United States and Europe: Substitution vs. Complementarity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 157-175.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    herd effects; immigration; location choice; networks;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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