UCMX Economics of Migration Seminar


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Speaker: María Esther Caballero (World Bank)

Title: The International Transmission of Local Economic Shocks Through Migrant Networks (joint with Brian C. Cadena and Brian K. Kovak)

View the recording of the seminar here


Using newly validated data on geographic migration networks, we study how labor demand shocks in the United States propagate across the border with Mexico. We show that the large exogenous decline in US employment brought about by the Great Recession affected demographic and economic outcomes in Mexican communities that were highly connected to the most affected markets in the US. In the Mexican locations with strong initial ties to the hardest hit US migrant destinations, return migration increased, emigration decreased, and remittance receipt declined. These changes significantly increased local employment and hours worked, but wages were unaffected. Investment in children’s education also slowed in these communities. These findings document the effects in Mexico when potential migrants lose access to a strong US labor market, providing insight for the potential impacts of stricter US migration restrictions.

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