In search of peace: Structural adjustment, violence, and international migration

Steven Elías Alvarado, Douglas S. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The authors analyze the effects of structural adjustment and violence on international migration from selected countries in Latin America by estimating a series of event history models that predicted the likelihood of initial migration to the United States as a function of the murder rate, economic openness, and selected controls in the country of origin. Although several theories posit a connection between structural economic change and violence, such a pattern held only in Nicaragua, where the homicide rate increased as the economy was opened to trade and average incomes deteriorated. Moreover, only in Nicaragua was lethal violence positively related to out-migration. In Mexico, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, rising violence reduced the likelihood of emigration. Violence does not appear to have uniform effects on patterns of international migration but depends on broader social and political conditions within particular countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-161
Number of pages25
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • Homicide
  • International migration
  • Political violence


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