IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The migration flux: Understanding international immigration through internal migration


  • Rickard Sandell

    () (IMDEA Social Sciences Institute)


This paper introduces the idea that the network structure that emerges from a foreign-born population's internal migration process changes the conditions for international immigration. The idea is tested by using data from the period between 1998 and 2008 about virtually all internal and international migration events in Spain. The findings show that internal migration changes the intensity and the quality content of immigrant social capital transfers, with both positive and negative ramifications for subsequent network-driven international migration. The effect of internal migration was particularly influential in localities with no prior direct international immigration experience. The findings also revealed a synergistic effect between the two migration processes - high levels of internal migration lead to elevated overall international immigration levels. Almost all research focusing on network-driven migration treats the causal mechanism producing the network effect in an endogenous way. For example, it is commonly claimed that increasing international immigration is the result of an expansion of the immigrant network due to past international immigration. My findings constitute explicit evidence that network-driven international migration is also determined by exogenous factors such as the second-order migration of past migrants in the destination.

Suggested Citation

  • Rickard Sandell, 2011. "The migration flux: Understanding international immigration through internal migration," Working Papers 2011-20, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  • Handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2011-20

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gernot Grabher & Walter W. Powell (ed.), 2004. "Networks," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 2771.
    2. Dunlevy, James A. & Gemery, Henry A., 1978. "Economic Opportunity and the Responses of “Old” and “New” Migrants to the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 901-917, December.
    3. Carlo Devillanova & Walter García-Fontes, 2004. "Migration across Spanish provinces: evidence from the social security records (1978-1992)," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 28(3), pages 461-487, September.
    4. Douglas J. Krupka, 2009. "Location-Specific Human Capital, Location Choice And Amenity Demand," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(5), pages 833-854.
    5. María Hierro, 2009. "Modelling the dynamics of internal migration flows in Spain," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(3), pages 683-692, August.
    6. 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.
    7. Corinne Deléchat, 2001. "International Migration Dynamics: The Role of Experience and Social Networks," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 15(3), pages 457-486, September.
    8. Kamar Ali & Mark Partridge & Dan Rickman, 2012. "International immigration and domestic out-migrants: are domestic migrants moving to new jobs or away from immigrants?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 49(2), pages 397-415, October.
    9. Randall Filer, 1992. "The Effect of Immigrant Arrivals on Migratory Patterns of Native Workers," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 245-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Benjamin Davis & Guy Stecklov & Paul Winters, 2002. "Domestic and International Migration from Rural Mexico: Disaggregating the effects of network structure and composition," Working Papers 02-13, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    international; internal; domestic; migration; immigration; cumulative causation; chain migration; social networks;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2011-20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (IMDEA RePEc Maintainer). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.