Beyond the Mexican Case: A Theoretical, Empirical and Policy Analysis of Central American Migration to the United States

Jack DeWaard, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Keuntae Kim, University of Wisconsin at Madison

The current paper extends the existing body of theoretical and empirical work on the determinants of international migration. A decade has passed since Massey and Espinosa’s influential exposition of the case of Mexico-U.S. migration. They found evidence for the relative importance of social capital formation, human capital formation, and market consolidation in explaining first and subsequent migrations to the United States. It remains to be seen, however, whether their findings hold in the case of other migration streams from Central America to the United States. Using retrospective data from the Latin American Migration Project, we follow Massey and Espinosa in employing the use of discrete time event-history models and a rich set of predictors at the individual, household, community, and macroeconomic levels. We find evidence for a distinctive pattern of Central American migration to the United States that both confirms and yet diverges from the findings of Massey and Espinosa.

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Presented in Poster Session 5