Abstract

I analyze the influence of the economic characteristics of origin area on trip duration for Mexican migrants in the United States. I argue that migrants from economically dynamic areas in Mexico with favorable opportunities for employment and small capital investment have a larger incentive to stay in the United States longer and to withstand the psychic costs of separation from family and friends than do migrants from economically stagnant areas in Mexico, where the productive uses of savings are severely limited. In line with this argument we should expect investment opportunities in migrants’ origin areas to be associated positively with migrants’ trip duration in the United States. To test this hypothesis I use individual- and household-level data on U.S migration experience collected in 13 Mexican communities. Evidence from parametric hazards models supports the idea that economic characteristics of origin areas influence the motivations and strategies of Mexican migrants in the United States.

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