Structural economic change and international migration from Mexico and Poland

Douglas S. Massey, Frank Kalter, Karen A. Pren

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In this article we use uniquely comparable data sets from two very different settings to examine how exogenous economic transformations affect the likelihood and selectivity of international out-migration. Specifically, we use data from the Mexican Migration Project to construct event history files predicting first U.S. trips from seven communities in the state of Veracruz, which until recently sent very few migrants abroad. Similarly, using data from the Polish Migration Project, we derive comparable event history files predicting first trips to Germany from four Polish communities, which also sent few migrants abroad before the 1980s. Our analyses suggest that the onset of structural adjustment in both places had a significant effect in raising the probability of international migration, even when controlling for a set of standard variables specified by other theories to influence migration propensity, such as the size of the binational income gap and various indicators of human and social capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-161
Number of pages28
JournalKolner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie
Issue numberSUPPL. 48
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Human capital
  • International migration
  • Mexico
  • Poland
  • Social capital
  • Structural adjustment


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