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Emigrant or Sojourner? Migration Intensity and Its Determinants


  • Florian Kaufmann


This Working Paper develops the concept of 'migration intensity'--the degree to which a migrant shifts his attachment, association and engagement from his place of origin to the migration destination. Among male Mexican migrants to the United States, Kaufmann finds strong complementarities among remittances, migration patterns, and localized investments in physical, social and human capital. Based on these, he derives an Index of Migration Intensity (IMI). The IMI reveals that the majority of Mexicans have low levels of migration intensity, but migration intensity has been growing over time. Migration intensity varies as expected: education, prior migration experience, foreign family ties, and original residence in communities with few economic opportunities all promote higher migration intensity. From the standpoint of sending countries, low migration intensity has the desirable effects of enhancing positive financial transfers and mitigating the resource losses connected to the human outflow. From the standpoint of receiving countries, low migration intensity may also be desirable, depending on policy goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Kaufmann, 2007. "Emigrant or Sojourner? Migration Intensity and Its Determinants," Working Papers wp154, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp154

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carmel Chiswick, 2009. "The economic determinants of ethnic assimilation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(4), pages 859-880, October.
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    11. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Cynthia Bansak & Susan Pozo, 2005. "On the remitting patterns of immigrants: evidence from Mexican survey data," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 1, pages 37-58.
    12. Robert E.B. Lucas, 2005. "International Migration and Economic Development," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3826.
    13. Duane F. Alwin, 1973. "The Use of Factor Analysis in the Construction of Linear Composites in Social Research," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 2(2), pages 191-212, November.
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    15. Dustmann, Christian, 2000. "Temporary Migration and Economic Assimilation," IZA Discussion Papers 186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. repec:pri:cmgdev:wp0607 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-142, March.
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    More about this item


    International Migration; Migration Strategies; Assimilation; Return Migration; Remittances;

    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
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy


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