What's driving Mexico-U.S. migration? A theoretical, empirical, and policy analysis

Douglas S. Massey, Kristin E. Espinosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

816 Scopus citations


Using data gathered in 25 Mexican communities, the authors link individual acts of migration to 41 theoretically defined individual-, household-, community-, and macroeconomic-level predictors. The indicators vary through time to yield a discrete-time event-history analysis. Over the past 25 years, probabilities of first, repeat, and return migration have been linked more to the forces identified by social capital theory and the new economics of migration than to the cost-benefit calculations assumed by the neoclassical model. The authors find that Mexico-U.S. migration stems from three mutually reinforcing processes: social capital formation, human capital formation, and market consolidation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-999
Number of pages61
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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