Three essays on Mexican migration to the United States
Haraguchi, Kelii H., 1980-
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Haraguchi, Kelii H., 1980-
This dissertation consists of three essays that empirically address aspects of three common questions posed in the Mexican immigration literature: What characteristics define migrants from Mexico? How does US border-enforcement policy affect migrant behavior? What role does foreign direct investment (FDI) into Mexico play in altering incentives for migration to the United States? The first essay (Chapter II) examines selection patterns of Mexican migrants based on migration frequency. Studies of Mexican migrant selection have largely ignored its temporary and repeated nature. In particular, the literature has not appropriately distinguished between migrants that travel to the United States only once and those who migrate multiple times. I model the selection process of repeat migrants in two stages: selection into initial migration and selection into repeat migration. Allowing for unobservable differences between non-migrants, single-episode migrants and repeat migrants, I find negative selection of repeat migrants relative to non-migrants and no significant differences between the unobservable attributes of repeat and single-episode migrants. The second essay (Chapter III) addresses how border enforcement influences migrant behavior. Increases in border enforcement during the 1990s were distributed non-uniformly along the border, targeting regions believed to experience episodes of high volumes of illegal border crossings. I examine how geographic and time-series variation in annual border enforcement influences US destination choices for undocumented Mexican migrants. While increased enforcement diverts migrants to alternative crossing locations, I show that their final destinations tend to be robust to border enforcement. Thus, in terms of policy, there may be benefits to coordination in enforcement efforts across sectors. The third essay (Chapter IV) addresses the claim that Mexico-bound FDI reduces immigration to the United States by increasing employment opportunities and raising Mexican wages. I use annual, state-level FDI from 1994 to 2004 to examine how FDI flows influence US-migration propensity. FDI flows reduce the probability of migration to the United States and increase the probability of an employment change in Mexico for non-migrants. Further, FDI is found to increase the likelihood of employment changes for household heads in Mexican states bordering the United States, but not the likelihood of employment in interior states.