How Homophily and Consolidation Shape Cumulative Migration Dynamics from Mexico to the United States

Filiz Garip, Harvard University
Maocan Guo, Harvard University

Migration flows from Mexico to the United States originated in the central-western Mexican states, a pattern prior research connected to the early development of railroads in the region. Over time, these areas continued to be major suppliers of migrants to the United States, but new areas (such as the border states) also emerged. The level of migration out of the emerging areas eventually came to surpass that from the historic regions. This pattern presents a puzzle for cumulative causation theory, which predicts ever-increasing migration rates due to the accumulation of social resources. This project seeks to solve this puzzle. Using data from the Mexican Migration Project, we investigate how the social structure in sending communities, specifically the homophily and consolidation in the distribution of socio-economic characteristics, shapes the diffusion of migration behavior.

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Presented in Session 86: International Migration