The New Economics of Return Labor Migration: A Test on the Determinants of Return for Latin Americans in the U.S.

Fernando Riosmena, University of Pennsylvania

This paper compares the determinants of return for Puerto Rican, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Costa Rican and Mexican migrants in the U.S. using data from the Mexican and Latin American Migration Projects (MMP/LAMP). We estimate discrete-time, event-history models using Generalized Estimation Equations to calculate the likelihood of return of migrant household heads to their countries of origin in year t while controlling for a variety of individual-, household-, and macro-level characteristics in t-1. The main theoretical foundation of the paper lies on the tenets of the New Economics of Labor Migration (NELM). The countries being compared present a fair degree of variation in theory-relevant traits such as the existence of well-functioning markets, the costs of (re-)migration, and familial structure. This study is thus an attempt to further test the theory regarding return in order to find its limits/qualifications while discussing how other theoretical frameworks could enrich the NELM approach.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Applied Demography, Methods, Migration, Labor and Education, Gender, and Race and Ethnicity