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Violence, Development and Migration Waves: Evidence from Central American Child Migrant Apprehensions

Listed author(s):
  • Clemens, Michael A.

    ()

    (Center for Global Development)

Registered author(s):

    A recent surge in child migration to the U.S. from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala has occurred in the context of high rates of regional violence. But little quantitative evidence exists on the causal relationship between violence and international emigration in this or any other region. This paper studies the relationship between violence in the Northern Triangle and child migration to the United States using novel, individual-level, anonymized data on all 178,825 U.S. apprehensions of unaccompanied child migrants from these countries between 2011 and 2016. It finds that one additional homicide per year in the region, sustained over the whole period – that is, a cumulative total of six additional homicides – caused a cumulative total of 3.7 additional unaccompanied child apprehensions in the United States. The explanatory power of short-term increases in violence is roughly equal to the explanatory power of long-term economic characteristics like average income and poverty. Due to diffusion of migration experience and assistance through social networks, violence can cause waves of migration that snowball over time, continuing to rise even when violence levels do not.

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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10928.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10928.

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    Length: 56 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2017
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10928
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    1. Adams Jr., Richard H. & Cuecuecha, Alfredo, 2010. "Remittances, Household Expenditure and Investment in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1626-1641, November.
    2. Kate Ambler & Diego Aycinena & Dean Yang, 2015. "Channeling Remittances to Education: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 207-232, April.
    3. Philip Keefer & Norman Loayza, 2010. "Innocent Bystanders : Developing Countries and the War on Drugs," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2420, December.
    4. Jushan Bai, 2009. "Panel Data Models With Interactive Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1229-1279, 07.
    5. Molina Millán, Teresa, 2015. "Regional Migration, Insurance and Economic Shocks: Evidence from Nicaragua," IZA Discussion Papers 9494, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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