The role of gender, aspirations, and family structure in Mexican education and migration

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Migration, Education, Stratification
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Creighton, Mathew Jamieson

Each chapter of this dissertation considers a distinct social process in Mexico. The first chapter considers the role of gender and family background in educational mobility for most of the twentieth century. The second chapter explores the link between migrant networks, aspirations to migrate and subsequent behavior. The third chapter focuses on the role of migration in household structure and the educational trajectory of children in migrant-sending families.

In the first chapter, I use a sample of approximately 100,000 adults from the first wave of the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS), collected in 2002, to model transitions into primary, lower-secondary, upper-secondary, and tertiary education. Using a sibling fixed effect approach, I find an emergent female advantage patterned by specific state efforts at educational expansion. In contrast, the importance of educational background remains stable with only slight declines for transitions at the primary and lower-secondary level.

In the second chapter, I use two waves of MxFLS, collected in 2002 and 2005, to explore the migrant decision-making process. Following a sample of 13,023 adults aged 18 to 50 for approximately four years, I find that migrant networks in the United States not only produce an orientation toward international migration, but also toward a number of domestic destinations. In addition, an individual's aspired destination predicts subsequent behavior for both domestic and international migration.

In the third chapter, I investigate the link between migration, family structure and the risk of dropping out of school for children enrolled in compulsory (primary and lower­secondary) and non-compulsory (upper-secondary) education. Using the first two waves of MxFLS, which includes 5,779 primary, lower-secondary and upper-secondary students, I longitudinally model the role of single motherhood in the subsequent risk of dropping out, focusing on the link between migration and absent fathers. I find that upper-secondary students living with a single mother due to international migration or divorce/separation are at a greater risk of dropping out than their two-parent peers. The greater risk for upper-secondary students with migrant fathers is not explained by economic characteristics of the household.

Park, Hyunjoon
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