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The Impact of Family Size and Sibling Structure on the Great Mexico-U.S. Migration


  • Bratti, Massimiliano
  • Fiore, Simona
  • Mendola, Mariapia


We investigate how fertility and demographic factors affect migration at the household level by assessing the causal effects of sibship size and structure on offspring's international migration. We use a rich demographic survey on the population of Mexico and exploit presumably exogenous variation in family size induced by biological fertility and infertility shocks. We further exploit cross-sibling differences to identify birth order, sibling-sex, and sibling-age composition effects on migration. We find that large families per se do not boost offspring out-migration. Yet, the likelihood of migrating is not equally distributed within a household, but is higher for sons and decreases sharply with birth order. The female migration disadvantage also varies with sibling composition by age and gender.

Suggested Citation

  • Bratti, Massimiliano & Fiore, Simona & Mendola, Mariapia, 2019. "The Impact of Family Size and Sibling Structure on the Great Mexico-U.S. Migration," GLO Discussion Paper Series 392, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:392

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    International Migration; Mexico; Family Size; Sibling Structure;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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