Sálvese quien pueda: Structural adjustment and emigration from Lima

Douglas S. Massey, Chiara Capoferro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Beginning in 1987, Peru imposed a regime of structural adjustment to transform its economy along neoliberal lines. This analysis suggests that a shift resulted in the odds of international migration and the motivations for leaving among inhabitants of Peru's largest labor market. Before 1987, under the regime of import substitution industrialization, jobs at wages capable of sustaining a basic standard of living were widely available; those few who left the country self-selected for higher human capital and moved abroad to improve their earnings. Under neoliberalism, however, both employment and wages fell to levels that made it difficult for families to sustain themselves. In response, households - with the assistance of friends and relatives with foreign experience - diversified their labor portfolios away from the local job market structural adjustment zones. The number of migrants then rose, the diversity of foreign destinations increased, and migration became less selective with respect to human capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-127
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • International migration
  • Neoliberalism
  • Networks
  • Peru
  • Social capital
  • Structural adjustment
  • Urban labor markets


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