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

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  • Clemens, Michael A.

    () (Center for Global Development)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Clemens, Michael A., 2017. "Violence, Development and Migration Waves: Evidence from Central American Child Migrant Apprehensions," IZA Discussion Papers 10928, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10928
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jason Gagnon, 2011. "“Stay With Us?” The Impact of Emigration on Wages in Honduras," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 300, OECD Publishing.
    2. Joana Monteiro & Rudi Rocha, 2017. "Drug Battles and School Achievement: Evidence from Rio de Janeiro's Favelas," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 213-228, May.
    3. Adams Jr., Richard H. & Cuecuecha, Alfredo, 2010. "Remittances, Household Expenditure and Investment in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1626-1641, November.
    4. 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.
    5. Philip Keefer & Norman Loayza, 2010. "Innocent Bystanders : Developing Countries and the War on Drugs," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2420.
    6. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "Self-Selection Patterns in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Role of Migration Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 811-821, November.
    7. Anzoategui, Diego & Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli & Martínez Pería, María Soledad, 2014. "Remittances and Financial Inclusion: Evidence from El Salvador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 338-349.
    8. Ming-Jen Lin, 2008. "Does Unemployment Increase Crime?: Evidence from U.S. Data 1974–2000," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 413-436.
    9. Jushan Bai, 2009. "Panel Data Models With Interactive Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1229-1279, July.
    10. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Dagnelie, Olivier & Mayda, Anna Maria & Maystadt, Jean-François, 2018. "The labor market integration of refugees to the United States: Do entrepreneurs in the network help?," CEPR Discussion Papers 12735, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    violence; migration; forced; refugee; UAC; unaccompanied children; Northern Triangle; Central America; Honduras; Guatemala; El Salvador; minors; survival migration; youths; Cartagena Declaration; Global Compact; war; drug trade; smugglers; traffickers; trafficking; cocaine; cartel; gang; mara; homicide; murder; mobility; asylum; asylee; war; deaths;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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