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Can Public Transfers Reduce Mexican Migration? A study based on randomized experimental data

Author

Listed:
  • Guy Stecklov
  • Paul Winters
  • Marco Stampini
  • Benjamin Davis

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

Abstract

Prior research on Mexican migration has shown that social networks and economic incentives play an important role in determining migration outcomes. This study utilizes experimental data on PROGRESA, Mexico's primary poverty reduction program, to evaluate the effects of public cash transfers on migration. Our study complements a growing body of literature aimed at overcoming longstanding hurdles towards the establishment of causal validity in empirical studies of migration. We find that public cash transfers reduce US migration but have little effect on domestic migration. Furthermore, we find that the provision of cash transfers appears to reduce migration partly by reducing the relative deprivation levels of poor households. Finally, we find that the effect of public cash transfers on US migration depend on the size of existing US migration networks. Surprisingly, we see that transfers have larger (more negative) effects on US migration in communities with large existing networks. The results suggest that public transfers may be helpful in managing rural out-migration, particularly to the US. Interestingly, such programs may be most effective if they are targeted towards communities with strong existing migration patterns.

Suggested Citation

  • Guy Stecklov & Paul Winters & Marco Stampini & Benjamin Davis, 2003. "Can Public Transfers Reduce Mexican Migration? A study based on randomized experimental data," Working Papers 03-16, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  • Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0316
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stark, Oded & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1982. "Migration, growth, distribution and welfare," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(3-4), pages 243-249.
    2. B. Davis & P. Winters, 2001. "Gender, Networks and Mexico-US Migration," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(2), pages 1-26.
    3. Stark, Oded & Bloom, David E, 1985. "The New Economics of Labor Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 173-178, May.
    4. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
    5. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    6. Peter Mueser, 1989. "Measuring the impact of locational characteristics on migration: Interpreting cross-sectional analyses," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(3), pages 499-513, August.
    7. James P. Smith & Duncan Thomas, 2003. "Remembrances of things past: test-retest reliability of retrospective migration histories," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 166(1), pages 23-49.
    8. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
    9. 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.
    10. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Davis, Benjamin & de la Vega, Sergio, 2001. "Targeting the Poor in Mexico: An Evaluation of the Selection of Households into PROGRESA," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1769-1784, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Oliver, Azuara, 2009. "Does poverty alleviation increase migration? evidence from Mexico," MPRA Paper 35076, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Angelucci, Manuela, 2004. "Aid and Migration: An Analysis of the Impact of Progresa on the Timing and Size of Labour Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 1187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Debt; Economics; Income transfers; Mexico; Migration; Poverty; Rural urban migration; Social conditions; Social policies; Urban rural migration;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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