Repeat Migration and Remittances as Mechanisms for Wealth Inequality in 119 Communities From the Mexican Migration Project Data

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Abstract

To evaluate the distributional impact of remittances in origin communities, prior research studied how migrants' selectivity by wealth varies with migration prevalence in the community or prior migration experience of the individual. This study considers both patterns; it examines selectivity separately in low- and high-prevalence communities and for first-time and repeat migrants. Based on data from 18,042 household heads in 119 Mexican communities from the Mexican Migration Project, the analyses show that (1) first-time migrants in low-prevalence communities come from poor households, whereas repeat migrants in high-prevalence communities belong to wealthy households; and (2) higher amounts of remittances reach wealthy households. These results suggest that repeat migration and remittances may be mechanisms for wealth accumulation in the study communities. Descriptive analyses associate these mechanisms with increasing wealth disparities between households with and without migrants, especially in high-prevalence communities. The study, similar to prior findings, shows the importance of repeat migration trips, which, given sustained remittances, may amplify the wealth gap between migrants and nonmigrants in migrant-sending communities. The study also qualifies prior findings by differentiating between low- and high-prevalence communities and observing a growing wealth gap only in the latter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1335-1360
Number of pages26
JournalDemography
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography

Keywords

  • Mexico
  • Migration
  • Remittances
  • Wealth inequality

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