Within, between, and beyond space-time: Three essays on Latin America-United States migratory dynamics

Fernando Riosmena, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation deals with three aspects of Latin America - US migration dynamics using data from the Mexican and Latin American Migration Projects (MMP/LAMP). First, I look at period changes in first, return, and repeated migration probabilities while looking at differences between traditional and non-traditional origins in Mexico using a parity-duration formal demographic model. I find that people from traditional origins engaged in fewer and longer trips in more recent periods, and that people from nontraditional origins tended to engage in fewer and longer trips, and to start their migratory careers later in life. Second, I study the US-bound and return migration behavior of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Nicaraguans, and Costa Ricans. Using bi-level discrete-time event history analyses, I find that cross-country variation in out-migration can be greatly explained in terms of the availability and use people give to migration-related social capital (including potential access to documentation). People from non-traditional origins in Mexico do not only have quite different migration dynamics and more relative access to documentation than people from the heartland of migration. Heterogeneity in trip duration could be partially explained by differences in access in documentation and by family dynamics. Migration moves can thus be seen as part of a broader family-centered status- and economic-based mobility strategy, and that these motivations differ across countries given differential costs and benefits associated to the migration process. Finally, I analyze the association between marriage, family life cycle and US migration of various cohorts of Mexicans, and how this association may change across socioeconomic settings. Results from discrete-time event history analyses and the estimation of predicted age-specific probabilities under a life course perspective suggest that people were especially more likely to become US migrants while single rather than married in areas undergoing industrialization, while the singe-married migration gradient was lowest in traditional rural areas. A more attractive economic environment, the increased capacity of dual earner households, or the increased bargaining power of females within the household in industrializing areas could be explaining these trends.

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Recommended Citation

Riosmena, Fernando, "Within, between, and beyond space-time: Three essays on Latin America-United States migratory dynamics" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3197733.