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Theories of International Migration: A Review and Appraisal

Author(s): Douglas S. Massey, Joaquin Arango, Graeme Hugo, Ali Kouaouci, Adela Pellegrino,
J. Edward Taylor
Source: Population and Development Review, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Sep., 1993), pp. 431-466
Published by: Population Council
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2938462 .
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Theoriesof International
Migration:A Review
and Appraisal

DOUGLAS S. MASSEY
JOAQUIN ARANGO
GRAEME HUGO
ALI KOUAOUCI
ADELA PELLEGRINO
J. EDWARD TAYLOR

OVERTHEPAST30 YEARS,imrnigration hasemerged as a majorforcethroughout


theworld.In traditional
immigrant-receiving suchas Australia,
societies Canada,
andtheUnitedStates,thevolumeofimmigration hasgrownanditscomposition
has shifteddecisivelyaway fromEurope,the historically dominantsource,
towardAsia,Africa, and LatinAmerica.In Europe,meanwhile, countriesthat
for centurieshad been sendingout migrantswere suddenlytransformed
intoimmigrant-receiving societies.
After1945,virtually inWestern
all countries
Europebeganto attract significant
numbersofworkers fromabroad.Although
the migrants were initiallydrawnmainlyfromsouthernEurope,by the late
1960stheymostlycame fromdevelopingcountries in Africa,Asia,theCarib-
bean,and theMiddleEast.
By the 1980s even countriesin southernEurope-Italy,Spain, and
Portugal-whichonlya decadebeforehad beensendingmigrants to wealthier
countriesin the north,began to importworkersfromAfrica,Asia, and the
MiddleEast.Atthesametime,Japan-withitslow and stilldeclining birthrate,
its aging population,and its high standardof living-founditselfturning
increasinglyto migrantsfrompoorercountries in Asiaand evenSouthAmerica
to satisfy
itslaborneeds.
Mostoftheworld'sdevelopedcountries havebecomediverse, multiethnic
and thosethathavenotreachedthisstatearemovingdecisively
societies, inthat
direction.Theemergence ofinternational
migration as a basicstructural
feature
ofnearlyall industrialized
countries tothestrength
testifies andcoherence ofthe

POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 19, NO. 3 (SEPTEMBER 1993) 431


432 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

underlying forces.
Yetthetheoretical baseforunderstanding theseforcesremains
weak.Therecent boominimmigration hasthereforetakencitizens, and
officials,
demographers by surprise,and when it comes to international migration,
popularthinking remainsmiredin nineteenth-century concepts,models,and
assumptions.
Atpresent, thereis no single,coherent theoryofinternational migration,
onlya fragmented setoftheoriesthathave developedlargelyin isolationfrom
one another,sometimes butnotalwayssegmented bydisciplinary boundaries.
Currentpatternsand trendsin immigration, however,suggestthat a full
understanding of contemporary migratory processeswill not be achievedby
relying on thetoolsofone discipline alone,or byfocusing on a singlelevelof
analysis.Rather,theircomplex,multifaceted naturerequiresa sophisticated
theory thatincorporates a variety levels,and assumptions.
ofperspectives,
Thepurposeofthisarticle is toexplicateandintegratetheleadingcontem-
porarytheories ofinternational migration.We beginbyexamining modelsthat
describe theinitiationofinternationalmovement andthenconsider theoriesthat
accountforwhytransnational populationflowspersistacrossspaceand time.
Ratherthanfavoring one theoryoveranothera priori, we seekto understand
each model on its own termsin orderto illuminatekey assumptionsand
hypotheses.Only aftereach theoryhas been consideredseparatelydo we
compareand contrast the differentconceptualframeworks to revealareas of
logicalinconsistency and substantivedisagreement.In undertaking thisexercise,
we seektoprovidea soundbasisforevaluating themodelsempirically, andtolay
the groundwork forconstructing an accurateand comprehensive theoryof
internationalmigration forthetwenty-firstcentury.

The initiationof intemationalmigration


A varietyoftheoreticalmodelshas beenproposedto explainwhyinternational
migrationbegins,and althougheachultimately seekstoexplainthesamething,
theyemployradically different
concepts, assumptions, and framesofreference.
Neoclassicaleconomics inwagesandemployment
focuseson differentials condi-
tionsbetweencountries, and on migration costs; it generally conceives of
movement as an individualdecisionforincomemaximization. The "new eco-
nomicsofmigration," in contrast,considersconditions in a variety
ofmarkets,
notjust labormarkets.It viewsmigration as a householddecisiontakento
minimizerisksto familyincomeor to overcomecapitalconstraints on family
productionactivities.Dual labor markettheoryand world systemstheory
generallyignoresuchmicro-level decisionprocesses,focusing insteadon forces
operatingatmuchhigherlevelsofaggregation. Theformer linksimmigration to
thestructuralrequirements ofmodernindustrial economies, whilethelattersees
immigration as a naturalconsequenceof economicglobalization and market
penetration acrossnationalboundaries.
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 433

Giventhefactthattheories conceptualizecausalprocessesatsuchdifferent
levelsof analysis-theindividual,thehousehold,thenational,and theinter-
national-theycannotbe assumed,a priori, tobe inherentlyincompatible.It is
quite possible,forexample,thatindividualsact to maximizeincomewhile
familiesminirnize risk,and thatthe contextwithinwhichbothdecisionsare
madeis shapedby structural forcesoperatingat thenationaland international
levels.Nonetheless, the variousmodels reflectdifferentresearchobjectives,
focuses,interests,
andwaysofdecomposing an enormously complexsubjectinto
analyticallymanageableparts;and a firmbasis forjudgingtheirconsistency
requiresthattheinnerlogic,propositions,assumptions,and hypotheses ofeach
theory be clearlyspecified
and well-understood.

Neoclassicaleconomics:Macrotheory

Probablythe oldestand best-knowntheoryof international migration was


developedoriginally in
to explainlabor migration the processof economic
development(Lewis, 1954; Ranis and Fei, 1961; Harrisand Todaro,1970;
Todaro,1976). According to thistheory and itsextensions, international migra-
tion,like its internalcounterpart, is caused by geographicdifferences in the
supplyof and demandforlabor.Countrieswitha largeendowmentof labor
relative to capitalhave a low equilibrium marketwage,whilecountries witha
limited endowment oflaborrelative tocapitalarecharacterized bya highmarket
wage, as depictedgraphically by the familiar interaction of laborsupplyand
demandcurves.Theresulting inwagescausesworkers
differential fromthelow-
wagecountry to move to the high-wagecountry. As a resultof thismovement,
thesupplyoflabordecreasesand wagesrisein thecapital-poor country, while
thesupplyoflaborincreases andwagesfallinthecapital-rich country, leading,at
equilibrium, to an international wage differentialthatreflects onlythecostsof
international movement, pecuniary and psychic.
Mirroring theflowofworkers fromlabor-abundant to labor-scarce coun-
triesis a flowofinvestment capitalfromcapital-rich to capital-poorcountries.
Therelative scarcityofcapitalinpoorcountries yieldsa rateofreturn thatishigh
by international standards, therebyattracting investment. The movementof
capitalalso includeshumancapital,withhighlyskilledworkersmovingfrom
capital-rich to capital-poorcountries in orderto reaphighreturns on theirskills
in a human capital-scarce environment, leadingto a parallelmovementof
managers,technicians, and otherskilledworkers.The international flowof
labor,therefore, mustbe keptconceptually distinctfromtheassociatedinterna-
tionalflowofhumancapital.Evenin themostaggregated macro-level models,
theheterogeneity ofinmmigrants alongskilllinesmustbe clearlyrecognized.
Thesimpleand compelling explanation ofinternational migration offered
by neoclassical macroeconomics has strongly shapedpublicthinking hasand
providedthe intellectual basis formuchinmmigration policy.The perspective
containsseveralimplicit propositions and assumptions:
434 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

1 Theinternational
migrationofworkers is causedbydifferencesinwage
ratesbetweencountries.
2 The eliminationofwage differentials
willend themovement oflabor,
and migrationwillnotoccurin theabsenceofsuchdifferentials.
3 International
flowsofhumancapital-thatis,highlyskilledworkers-
respondto differences
in therateof returnto humancapital,whichmaybe
different
fromtheoverallwagerate,yieldinga distinctpattern
ofmigration that
maybe oppositethatofunskilledworkers.
4 Labor marketsare the primarymechanismsby whichinternational
flowsoflaborareinduced;otherkindsofmarkets do nothaveimportant effects
on international
migration.
5 The way forgovernments to controlmigration flowsis to regulateor
influencelabormarketsin sendingand/orreceiving countries.

Neoclassicaleconomics:Microtheory

Corresponding to the macroeconomic model is a microeconomic model of


individualchoice (Sjaastad, 1962; Todaro, 1969, 1976, 1989; Todaro and
Maruszko,1987). In thisscheme,individualrationalactorsdecideto migrate
becausea cost-benefit calculationleads themto expecta positivenetreturn,
usuallymonetary, frommovement. International
migration is conceptualized as
a formofinvestment inhumancapital.Peoplechoosetomovetowheretheycan
be mostproductive, giventheirskills;butbeforetheycan capturethehigher
wages associatedwithgreaterlaborproductivity theymustundertakecertain
investments,whichincludethematerialcostsoftraveling, thecostsofmainte-
nancewhilemovingand lookingforwork,theeffort involvedinlearning a new
languageand culture,the difficulty experiencedin adaptingto a new labor
market,and thepsychological costsofcutting old tiesand forging new ones.
Potential migrantsestimate thecostsandbenefits ofmovingtoalternative
international
locationsandmigrate towheretheexpecteddiscounted netreturns
are greatest
oversometimehorizon(Borjas,1990). Netreturns in each future
periodare estimatedby takingthe observedearningscorresponding to the
individual'sskillsin the destination countryand multiplying theseby the
probabilityof obtaininga job there(and forillegalmigrants thelikelihoodof
beingable to avoid deportation) to obtain"expecteddestination earnings."
Theseexpectedearnings arethensubtracted fromthoseexpectedinthecommu-
nityoforigin(observedearnings theremultipliedbytheprobability ofemploy-
ment)and thedifference is summedovera timehorizonfrom0 ton,discounted
bya factorthatreflectsthegreater utility
ofmoneyearnedinthepresent thanin
thefuture.Fromthisintegrated differencetheestimated costsare subtracted to
yieldtheexpectednetreturn to migration.
Thisdecisionmaking processis summarized analytically bythefollowing
equation:
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 435

ER(O) ffl [PI (t)P2(t)YOt) -


P3(t)Yo(t)]ertdt - C(0) (1)

whereER(0) is the expectednet returnto migration calculatedjust before


departureattime0; tistime;P1(t)istheprobability
ofavoidingdeportationfrom
the area of destination(1.0 forlegal migrants
and <1.0 forundocumented
niigrants);P2(t) is the probabilityof employmentat the destination;Yd(t) is
earningsif employedat the place of destination; P3(t) is the probabilityof
employment in thecommunity oforigin;Yo(t)is earningsifemployedin the
community oforigin;risthediscount factor;andC(O)isthesumtotalofthecosts
ofmovement(including psychological costs).
Ifthequantity ER(0) ispositiveforsomepotential destination, therational
if if
actormigrates; it is negativethe actorstays;and it is zero,the actoris
indifferent
betweenmovingand staying. In theory,a potential migrant goesto
wherethe expectednet returnsto migration are greatest,leadingto several
important conclusions thatdiffer
slightly fromtheearlier macroeconomic formu-
lations:
1 International movementstemsfrominternational in both
differentials
earningsand employment rates,whoseproductdeterninesexpectedearnings
(thepriormodel,in contrast, assumedfullemployment).
2 Individualhumancapitalcharacteristics thatincreasethelikelyrateof
remuneration ortheprobability ofemployment inthedestination relativetothe
sendingcountry(e.g., education,experience,training, languageskills)will
increasethelikelihoodofinternational movement, otherthingsbeingequal.
3 Individualcharacteristics, socialconditions, or technologies thatlower
migration costsincreasethe net returnsto migration and, hence,raisethe
probability ofinternationalmovement.
4 Becauseof2 and 3,individuals withinthesamecountry candisplayvery
differentproclivities
to migrate.
5 Aggregate migration flowsbetweencountries are simplesumsofindi-
vidualmovesundertaken on thebasisofindividual cost-benefitcalculations.
6 International movement doesnotoccurin theabsenceofdifferences in
earningsand/oremployment ratesbetweencountries. Migrationoccursuntil
expectedearnings(theproductofearningsand employment rates)have been
equalizedinternationally (netofthecostsofmovement), and movementdoes
notstopuntilthisproducthas been equalized.
7 Thesizeofthedifferential in expectedreturns determines thesizeofthe
international flowofmigrants betweencountries.
8 Migration decisionsstemfromdisequilibria or discontinuitiesbetween
labormarkets;othermarkets do notdirectly influence thedecisionto migrate.
9 If conditionsin receivingcountriesare psychologically attractiveto
prospective migrants,migration costsmaybe negative.In thiscase,a negative
earningsdifferential
maybe necessary to haltmigration betweencountries.
436 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

10 Governments controlimmigration primarily


throughpoliciesthat
affectexpectedearningsin sendingand/orreceiving countries-for example,
thosethatattempt to lowerthelikelihoodofemployment or raisetheriskof
underemployment in thedestination
area (through
employer sanctions),
those
that seek to raise incomesat the origin(throughlong-term development
programs), or thosethataim to increasethe costs (bothpsychological and
material)ofmigration.

Thenew economicsofmigration

In recentyears,a "neweconomicsofmigration" hasarisentochallenge manyof


the assumptionsand conclusionsof neoclassicaltheory(Starkand Bloom,
1985). A keyinsightofthisnew approachis thatmigration decisionsare not
made by isolatedindividualactors,but by largerunitsof relatedpeople-
typicallyfamiliesor households-inwhichpeopleact collectively notonlyto
maximnize expectedincome,butalso tominimize risksand toloosenconstraints
associatedwitha variety ofmarket apartfromthoseinthelabormarket
failures,
(Starkand Levhari,1982; Stark,1984; Katzand Stark,1986; Laubyand Stark,
1988; Taylor,1986; Stark,1991).
Unlikeindividuals, householdsare in a positionto controlrisksto their
economicwell-being bydiversifyingtheallocationofhouseholdresources, such
as familylabor.Whilesomefamily members canbe assignedeconomicactivities
inthelocaleconomy, othersmaybe senttoworkinforeign labormarkets where
wagesand employment conditionsare negatively correlatedor weaklycorre-
latedwiththosein thelocal area. In theeventthatlocal economicconditions
deteriorateand activitiestherefailto bringin sufficient
income,thehousehold
can relyon migrant remittancesforsupport.
In developedcountries, risksto householdincomeare generally mini-
mizedthroughprivateinsurancemarketsor governmental programs, but in
developingcountriesthese institutional mechanismsformanagingriskare
imperfect, absent,or inaccessibleto poor farnilies,givingthemincentives to
diversifyrisksthroughmigration. In developedcountries, moreover,credit
markets arerelativelywell-developed toenablefarniliestofinancenewprojects,
suchas theadoptionofnewproduction technology. In mostdeveloping areas,in
contrast,creditis usuallynotavailableoris procurable onlyat highcost.In the
absenceofaccessiblepublicoraffordable privateinsurance and creditprograms,
marketfailurescreatestrongpressuresforinternational movement,as the
following examplesshow.

Cropinsurance
marketsWheneverfarmn householdsputtimeand money
intosowinga crop,theyarebettingthattheinvestmentwillpayoffat a future
datein theformofa productthatcanbe soldforcashtopurchasedesiredgoods
and services,
or whichcan be consumeddirectlyforsubsistence.
Betweenthe
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 437

timea cropis plantedand harvested, however,humanor naturaleventsmay


reduceor eliminatetheharvest, leavingthefamily withinsufficientincomeor
foodforsubsistence. Likewise,theintroduction ofnew agriculturaltechnology
(such as high-yielding seeds or new methodsof cultivation) may alterthe
objectiveand/orsubjectiverisksconfronting farmhouseholds.Usinga new seed
varietymayincreasea farmner's yieldifthedevelopment expertis right;butifhe
or sheis wrong,thehouseholdfacestheprospect ofhavinginsufficient foodor
income.
In developedcountries, thesesortsof objectiveand subjective risksare
managedthroughformalinsurancearrangements, wherebyagricultural pro-
ducerspaya feetoa companyora government agencytoinsurethecropagainst
futureloss. The insuringinstitution assumesthe riskto the futurecrop,and
shoulda droughtor flooddestroy theharvestor a new technology backfire, it
paystheproducer fortheinsuredmarket valueofthecrop,thereby guaranteeing
theeconomicwell-being ofthefamily. Ifcropinsuranceis notavailable,families
havean incentive to self-insure
bysendingone ormoreworkers abroadtoremit
earnings home,thereby guaranteeing familyincomeeveniftheharvest fails.

Futures
marketsWhenever a householdsowsa cashcrop,itassumesthat
thecrop,whenharvested, canbe soldfora pricesufficient
tosustainthefamily
or
In makingthisbet,however,thereis a riskthattheprice
improveitswell-being.
forthecropmaydropbelowexpectedlevels,leavingthefamily withinsufficient
income.In developedcountries, priceriskis managedthrough futuresmarkets
thatallow farmersto sell all or partof theircrop forfuturedeliveryat a
guaranteedprice.Investorsassumetheriskoflossshouldpricesfallbelowthe
guaranteedprice,andtheyreapthegainshouldpricesriseabovethislevel.Most
developingcountrieslack futuresmarkets,and when theyexist,poor farm
householdsgenerallylack access to them.Migrationoffers a mechanismby
whichfarmfamilies can self-insureagainstincomerisksarisingfromcropprice
fluctuations.

UnemploymentinsuranceNonfarm families,as wellas manyfarmhouse-


holds,dependon wagesearnedbyfamily workers. Iflocaleconomicconditions
and employment
deteriorate levelsfall,or ifa familymemberis injuredand
cannotwork,thehousehold'slivelihoodmaybe threatened bya reductionor
lossofincome.In wealthycountries,governments maintain insuranceprograms
thatprotect
workersand theirfamilies fromthisrisk,butinpoorcountries such
unemployment and disability
programs areabsentorincomplete intheircover-
age,againgivingfamiliesincentivesto self-insurebysendingworkersabroad.
Ifemployment conditionsinforeign andlocallabormarkets arenegatively
correlated
or are uncorrelated,theninternational migration providesa way of
reducingtherisktofamily wagesand guarantees a reliablestreamofincome,in
theformofremittances, to supportthefamily. Moreover, migration fulfills
this
438 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

insurancefunctionwhetheror notremittances areactuallyobserved.Migrants,


likeformalinsurancecontracts,onlyhave to pay outiflossesare realized.The
existenceofan implicit insurance
orexplicit arrangement, however, canhavean
important on a household'seconomicbehavior,and thedesireto acquire
effect
this insurancemay be a primarymotivationforfamiliesto participate in
international
migration.

CapitalmarketsHouseholdsmay desireto increasethe productivity of


theirassets,but to do so theyneed to acquirecapitalto make additional
investments. Farmfamilies, forexample,mayseekto irrigate theirfields,apply
fertilizers,
buyscientifically improved seeds,oracquiremachinery, buttheymay
lackthemoneytopurchasetheseinputs.Nonfarm familiesmayseektoinvestin
theeducationortraining ofhouseholdmembers, ortoacquirecapitalgoodsthat
canbe usedtoproducegoodsforsaleon consumer markets,butagaintheymay
lackmoneytocoverthesecosts.In developedcountries, investments arefunded
eitherthrough privatesavingsorborrowing, bothofwhicharegreatly assistedby
accessto a sound and efficient bankingsystem.Borrowing can also provide
protectionagainstconsumption riskifincomeis variable.In manydeveloping
countries,however,savingsinstitutions are unreliable
or underdeveloped, and
peopleare reluctant to entrust theirsavingsto them.
In poorcountries theneededfundsmayalsobe difficult toborrowbecause
thefamilylackscollateralto qualifyfora loan, becausethereis a scarcity of
lendingcapital,or becausethebankingsystemprovidesincomplete coverage,
servingmainlytheneedsoftheaffluent. Forpoorfamilies, theonlyrealaccessto
borrowing is oftenfromlocal moneylenders who chargehighinterest rates,
makingtransaction costsprohibitive. Underthese circumstances, migration
againbecomesattractive as an alternativesourceofcapitalto financeimprove-
mentsin productivity and ensurestability in consumption, and thefamily has a
strongincentive tosendone ormoreworkers abroadtoaccumulate savingsorto
transfer
capitalbackin theformofremittances.
A key proposition in the foregoing discussionis thatincomeis not a
homogeneousgood,as assumedby neoclassicaleconomics.The sourceofthe
incomereallymatters, and householdshave significant incentives to invest
scarcefamilyresourcesin activities and projectsthatprovideaccess to new
incomesources,eveniftheseactivities do notnecessarilyincreasetotalincome.
The new economicsof migration also questionsthe assumptionthat
incomehas a constanteffecton utilityforan actoracross socioeconomic
settings-that a $100 realincreasein incomemeansthesamethingto a person
regardless
oflocalcommunity conditions andirrespectiveofhisorherpositionin
theincomedistribution. The new economictheorists argue,in contrast, that
householdssendworkers abroadnotonlytoimproveincomeinabsoluteterms,
butalso to increaseincomerelative to otherhouseholds,and,hence,to reduce
theirrelative
deprivation comparedwithsomereference group(see Stark, Taylor,
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 439

and Yitzhaki,1986, 1988; Starkand Yitzhaki,1988; Starkand Taylor,1989,


1991; Stark,1991).
A household'ssenseof relativedeprivation dependson theincomesof
whichit is deprivedin thereference-groupincomedistribution.IfF(y) is the
cumulative incomedistribution
and h[1-F(y)] represents
thedissatisfaction
felt
bya householdwithincomey fromnothavingan incomethatis slightly higher
thany (i.e.,y+ A), thentherelativedeprivationofa householdwithincomey
can be expressedconceptuallyas:
f ymax
RD(y) y1 h[l-F(z)] dz (2)

whereymaxis thehighestincomefoundin thecommunity. In thesimplecase


whereh[1 - F(y)] = 1- F(y), thisexpression is equivalenttotheproduct oftwo
terms:the shareof householdswithincomegreaterthany, and the average
differencebetweenthesehigherhouseholdincomesand y (Starkand Taylor,
1989).
To illustrate
thisconceptofrelativeincome,consideran increasein the
incomeofaffluent households.Ifpoorhouseholds'incomesareunchanged, then
theirrelative
deprivationincreases.Ifhouseholdutility is negatively
affectedby
relative
deprivation,theneventhougha poorhousehold'sabsoluteincomeand
expectedgainsfrommigration remainunchanged, itsincentive in
to participate
international
migration increasesif,bysendinga family memberabroad,itcan
hopeto reapa relativeincomegainin thecommunity. Thelikelihood ofmigra-
tionthusgrowsbecauseofthe changein otherhouseholds'incomes.Market
failures
thatconstrainlocalincomeopportunities forpoorhouseholdsmayalso
increasetheattractiveness
ofmigration as an avenueforeffecting gainsinrelative
income.
Thetheoreticalmodelsgrowing outofthe"new economics"ofmigration
yielda setof propositionsand hypotheses thatare quitedifferent fromthose
emanating fromneoclassicaltheory,andtheyleadtoa verydifferent setofpolicy
prescriptions:
1 Families,households,or otherculturally definedunitsof production
andconsumption aretheappropriate unitsofanalysisformigration not
research,
theautonomousindividual.
2 A wagedifferentialis nota necessary conditionforinternational migra-
tionto occur;householdsmayhave strong incentivesto diversifyrisksthrough
transnational movement evenin theabsenceofwagedifferentials.
3 Internationalmigration and local employment or localproduction are
not mutuallyexclusivepossibilities.Indeed,thereare strongincentivesfor
householdstoengageinbothmigration andlocalactivities.In fact,an increasein
the returnsto local economicactivitiesmay heightenthe attractiveness of
migration as a meansofovercoming capitaland riskconstraints on investing in
thoseactivities.
Thus,economicdevelopment withinsendingregionsneednot
reducethepressures forinternationalmigration.
440 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

4 Internationalmovement doesnotnecessarily stopwhenwagedifferen-


tialshavebeen eliminated acrossnationalboundaries.Incentives formigration
may continueto existifothermarketswithinsendingcountriesare absent,
imperfect,or in disequilibria.
5 Thesameexpectedgainin incomewillnothavethesameeffect on the
probabilityofmigration forhouseholdslocatedat different pointsin theincome
distribution,or among thoselocatedin communities withdifferent income
distributions.
6 Governments can influencemigration ratesnotonlythroughpolicies
thatinfluencelabor markets,but also throughthose thatshape insurance
markets, capitalmarkets,andfutures markets. Government insurance programs,
particularlyunemployment insurance, affect
can significantly theincentivesfor
international movement.
7 Government policiesandeconomicchangesthatshapeincomedistribu-
tionswillchangetherelative deprivationofsomehouseholdsandthusaltertheir
incentives to migrate.
8 Government policiesand economicchangesthataffect thedistribution
ofincomewillinfluence international
migration independent oftheireffectson
meanincome.In fact,government policiesthatproducea highermeanincome
inmigrant-sending areasmayincrease migration ifrelatively
poorhouseholdsdo
not sharein the incomegain. Conversely, policiesmay reducemigration if
relativelyrichhouseholdsdo notsharein theincomegain.

Dual labormarkettheory

Althoughneoclassicalhumancapitaltheoryand thenew economicsofmigra-


tionlead to divergent abouttheoriginsand natureofinternational
conclusions
migration,bothare essentiallymicro-level decisionmodels.Whatdiffer arethe
unitsassumedtomakethedecision(theindividual orthehousehold),theentity
beingmaximizedor minimized(incomeor risk),assumptions abouttheeco-
nomic contextof decisionmaking (complete and well-functioningmarkets
versusmissingor imperfect markets), and the extentto whichthemigration
decisionis sociallycontextualized (whetherincomeis evaluatedin absolute
termsor relative to somereference apartfromthese
group).Standingdistinctly
is
modelsofrationalchoice,however, dual labor markettheory, whichsetsits
sightsaway fromdecisionsmade by individuals and arguesthatinternational
migration stemsfromtheintrinsic labordemandsofmodernindustrial societies.
Piore(1979) has been the mostforceful and elegantproponentof this
theoretical viewpoint,arguingthat international migrationis caused by a
permanentdemand forimmigrant labor thatis inherentto the economic
structureofdevelopednations.According toPiore,immigrationis notcausedby
pushfactors in sendingcountries(low wagesor highunemployment), butby
pullfactors in receivingcountries(a chronicand unavoidableneedforforeign
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 441

Thisbuilt-in
workers). demandforimmigrant laborstemsfromfourfundamen-
talcharacteristics
ofadvancedindustrial
societiesand theireconomies.

StructuralinflationWages not only reflectconditionsof supplyand


demand;theyalso conferstatusand prestige, socialqualitiesthatinhereto the
jobs to whichthe wages are attached.In general,peoplebelievethatwages
should reflectsocial status,and theyhave ratherrigidnotionsabout the
correlation betweenoccupationalstatusand pay.As a result, wagesoffered by
employers arenotentirelyfreetorespondtochangesinthesupplyofworkers. A
varietyof informalsocial expectations and formalinstitutional mechanisms
(suchas unioncontracts, civilservicerules,bureaucratic regulations,
company
job classifications)
ensuresthatwagescorrespond to thehierarchies ofprestige
and statusthatpeopleperceiveand expect.
Ifemployers seekto attractworkers forunskilledjobs at thebottomofan
occupationalhierarchy, theycannotsimplyraisewages.Raisingwagesat the
bottomof the hierarchy would upsetsociallydefinedrelationships between
statusand remuneration. If wages are increasedat thebottom,therewillbe
strongpressure to raisewagesbycorresponding amountsat otherlevelsofthe
hierarchy.Ifthewagesofbusboysareraisedin responseto a shortage ofentry-
levelworkers, forexample,theymayoverlapwiththoseofwaitresses, thereby
threatening theirstatusand undermining theacceptedsocialhierarchy. Wait-
resses,in turn,demanda corresponding wage increase,whichthreatens the
positionofcooks,whoalsopressure employers fora raise.Workers maybe aided
in theirefforts
byunionrepresentatives or contracts.
Thusthecostto employers ofraisingwagestoattract low-levelworkers is
typicallymorethanthe cost of theseworkers'wages alone; wages mustbe
increasedproportionatelythroughout thejob hierarchyinordertokeepthemin
linewithsocialexpectations, a problemknownas structural inflation.
Attracting
nativeworkersby raisingentrywages duringtimesof laborscarcity is thus
expensiveand disruptive, providing employers witha strongincentive to seek
easierand cheapersolutions, suchas theimportation ofmigrant workerswho
willacceptlow wages.

MotivationalproblemsOccupationalhierarchies are also criticalforthe


motivation ofworkers,sincepeopleworknotonlyforincome,butalso forthe
accumulation and maintenance of socialstatus.Acutemotivational problems
arise at the bottomof the job hierarchy because thereis no statusto be
maintainedand thereare fewavenuesforupwardmobility. The problemis
inescapableand structural
becausethebottomcannotbe eliminated fromthe
labormarket. Mechanizationto eliminate thelowestand leastdesirableclassof
a of
jobs willsimplycreate new bottomtiercomposed jobs that used to be just
abovethebottomrung.Sincetherealwayshas tobe a bottomofanyhierarchy,
motivational problemsareinescapable.Whatemployers needareworkers who
442 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

viewbottom-leveljobs simplyas a meansto theendofearningmoney,and for


whomemployment is reducedsolelyto income,withno implications forstatus
or prestige.
For a varietyof reasons,immigrants satisfythisneed, at least at the
beginningof theirmigratory careers.Most migrants beginas targetearners,
seekingto earnmoneyfora specific goal thatwillimprovetheirstatusor well-
beingat home-buildinga house,payingforschool,buyingland,acquiring
consumergoods.Moreover,thedisjuncture in livingstandardsbetweendevel-
oped and developingsocietiesmeansthatevenlow wagesabroadappearto be
generousbythestandards ofthehomecommunity; and eventhougha migrant
mayrealizethata foreignjob isoflow statusabroad,he doesnotviewhimself as
beinga partofthereceiving society.Ratherhe seeshimself as a memberofhis
homecommunity, withinwhichforeign laborand hard-currency remittances
carryconsiderablehonorand prestige.

Economic dualism Bifurcated labor marketscome to characterize ad-


vancedindustrial economiesbecauseoftheinherent dualitybetweenlaborand
capital.Capitalis a fixedfactor
ofproduction thatcan be idledbylowerdemand
butnotlaidoff;ownersofcapitalmustbearthecostsofitsunemployment. Labor
is a variablefactorofproduction thatcanbe releasedwhendemandfalls,so that
workersare forcedto bear the costsof theirown unemployment. Whenever
possible,therefore, capitalists
seekoutthestable,permanent portionofdemand
andreserve itfortheemployment ofequipment, whereasthevariableportionof
demandismetbyaddinglabor.Thus,capital-intensive methodsareusedtomeet
basic demand,and labor-intensive methodsare reservedforthe seasonal,
fluctuating component. Thisdualismcreatesdistinctions amongworkers, lead-
ingto a bifurcation ofthelaborforce.
Workersin the capital-intensive primarysectorget stable,skilledjobs
workingwiththebestequipmentand tools.Employers are forcedto investin
theseworkersby providing specializedtraining and education.Theirjobs are
complicated and requireconsiderable knowledgeand experienceto perform
well,leadingtotheaccumulation offirm-specific humancapital.Primary-sector
workerstendto be unionizedor highlyprofessionalized, withcontracts that
requireemployers tobeara substantialshareofthecostsoftheiridlement (inthe
formofseverancepayand unemployment benefits).Becauseofthesecostsand
continuing obligations, workersin theprimary sectorbecomeexpensiveto let
go; theybecomemorelikecapital.
In thelabor-intensivesecondary sector,however,workers holdunstable,
unskilledjobs; theymaybe laid offat any timewithlittleor no costto the
employer. Indeed,theemployer willgenerally losemoneybyretaining workers
duringslack periods.Duringdown cyclesthe firstthingsecondary-sector
employers do is cuttheirpayroll.As a result,employers forceworkersin this
sectortobearthecostsoftheirunemployment. Theyremaina variablefactor of
production and are,hence,expendable.
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 443

Thus,theinherent dualismbetweenlaborand capitalextendstothelabor


forcein theformofa segmented labormarketstructure.
Low wages,unstable
conditions,and thelack ofreasonableprospects formobilityin thesecondary
sectormakeitdifficulttoattractnativeworkers,
who areinsteaddrawnintothe
primary, capital-intensive
sector,wherewagesarehigher, jobs aremoresecure,
and thereis a possibility
of occupationalimprovement. To filltheshortfall
in
demandwithinthesecondary sector,employers
turnto inmmigrants.

Thedemography oflaborsupply Theproblems ofmotivation and structural


inflationinherent tomodemoccupational hierarchies,together withthedualism
intrinsic
tomarketeconomies, createa permanent demandforworkers who are
willingtolaborunderunpleasant atlowwages,withgreatinstability,
conditions,
and facinglittlechanceforadvancement. In the past,thisdemandwas met
partially
bytwosetsofpeoplewithsocialstatusesand characteristics conducive
to thesesortsofjobs: womenand teenagers.
Historicallywomenhavetendedtoparticipate in thelaborforceup to the
timeoftheirfirst birth,and to a lesserextentafterchildrenhad grown.They
soughtto earnsupplemental incomeforthemselves ortheirfamilies. Theywere
notprimary breadwinners and theirprincipalsocialidentitywas thatofa sister,
wife,or mother.Theywerewillingto put up withlow wagesand instability
becausetheyviewedtheworkas transient andtheearnings as supplemental;the
positions theyheldwereunthreatening totheirmainsocialstatuses, whichwere
groundedin thefamily.
Likewise, teenagers havemovedintoandoutofthelaborforce
historically
withgreatfrequency inordertoearnextramoney,togainexperience, andtotry
outdifferent occupationalroles.Theydo notviewdead-endjobs as problematic
becausetheyexpectto getbetterjobs in the future, aftercompleting school,
gainingexperience, or settlingdown. Moreover,teenagersderivetheirsocial
identitiesfromtheirparentsandfamilies oforientation,nottheir jobs.Theyview
workinstrumentally as a meansofearningspending money.Themoneyandthe
things thatitbuysenhancetheirstatusamongtheirpeers;thejob isjusta means
to an end.
In advancedindustrial however,thesetwosourcesofentry-level
societies,
workers haveshrunkovertimebecauseofthreefundamental socio-demograph-
ic trends:the risein femalelaborforceparticipation, whichhas transformed
women'sworkintoa careerpursuedforsocialstatusas wellas income;therisein
divorcerates,whichhas transformed women'sjobs intoa sourceof primary
incomesupport;and the declinein birthratesand the extensionof formal
education,whichhave producedverysmallcohortsofteenagers enteringthe
labor force.The imbalancebetweenthe structural demand forentry-level
workersand the limiteddomesticsupplyof such workershas increasedthe
underlying, long-rundemandforimmigrants.
Dual labor markettheoryneitherpositsnor deniesthatactorsmake
rational,self-interested
decisions,as predictedby microeconomic models.The
444 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

negativequalitiesthatpeopleinindustrialized countriesattachtolow-wagejobs,
forexample,may open up employment opportunities to foreignworkers,
thereby raisingtheirexpectedearnings, increasing to overcomerisk
theirability
andcreditconstraints, and enablinghouseholdstoachieverelative incomegains
by sendingfamilymembersabroad.Recruitment by employers helpsto over-
come informational and otherconstraints on international movement,en-
hancingmigration's value as a strategy forfamilyincomegeneration or risk
diversification.
Although notin inherentconflictwithneoclassicaleconomics, duallabor
markettheorydoes carryimplications and corollariesthatare quitedifferent
fromthoseemanating frommicro-level decisionmodels:
1 Internationallabormigration islargelydemand-based andisinitiated by
recruitment on thepartofemployers in developedsocieties, orbygovernments
actingon theirbehalf.
2 Sincethedemandforimmigrant workersgrowsout ofthe structural
needsoftheeconomyandisexpressed through recruitment practicesrather than
wage offers, international wage differentials are neithera necessarynor a
condition
sufficient forlabormigration to occur.Indeed,employers haveincen-
tivesto recruitworkerswhileholdingwagesconstant.
3 Low-levelwagesininmmigrant-receiving do notriseinresponse
societies
to a decreasein thesupplyofimmigrant workers; theyarehelddownbysocial
andinstitutional mechanisms and arenotfreeto respondtoshifts in supplyand
demand.
4 Low-levelwagesmayfall,however,as a resultof an increasein the
supplyofimmigrant workers, sincethesocialand institutional checksthatkeep
low-levelwagesfromrisingdo notprevent themfromfalling.
5 Governments areunlikely toinfluence internationalmigration through
policiesthatproducesmallchangesin wagesor employment rates;immigrants
filla demandforlaborthatis structurally builtintomodern,post-industrial
economies,and influencing thisdemandrequiresmajorchangesin economic
organization.

Worldsystems
theory

Buildingon theworkofWallerstein ofsociological


(1974),a variety theoristshas
linkedtheoriginsofinternational
migration ofthelabor
notto thebifurcation
marketwithinparticularnationaleconomies,butto thestructureoftheworld
market thathasdevelopedandexpandedsincethesixteenth century (Portesand
Walton, 1981; Petras, 1981; Castells, 1989; Sassen, 1988, 1991; Morawska,
1990). In thisscheme,the penetration of capitalisteconomicrelationsinto
peripheral, societiescreatesa mobilepopulationthatis proneto
noncapitalist
migrate abroad.
Drivenby a desireforhigherprofits and greaterwealth,ownersand
firms
managersofcapitalist enterpoorcountries on theperipheryoftheworld
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 445

economyin searchofland,rawmaterials, labor,andnewconsumer markets. In


thepast,thismarketpenetrationwas assistedbycolonialregimes that adminis-
teredpoorregionsforthebenefit ofeconomicinterests in colonizingsocieties.
Todayitis madepossiblebyneocolonialgovernments and multinational firms
thatperpetuatethepowerofnationaleliteswho eitherparticipate in theworld
economyas capitalists
themselves,oroffertheirnation'sresourcestoglobalfinns
on acceptableterms.
According to worldsystems theory,migrationis a naturaloutgrowth of
and dislocations
disruptions thatinevitably occurin the processof capitalist
development. As capitalismhas expandedoutwardfromitscore in Western
Europe,NorthAmerica,Oceania,and Japan,ever-larger portionsoftheglobe
and growingsharesofthehumanpopulationhavebeenincorporated intothe
worldmarketeconomy.As land,raw materials, and laborwithinperipheral
regionscomeundertheinfluence and controlofmarkets, migration flowsare
inevitably
generated,someofwhichhavealwaysmovedabroad(Massey,1989).

Land In orderto achieve the greatestprofitfromexistingagrarian


resourcesandtocompetewithinglobalcommodity markets, farmers
capitalist in
peripheral to
areasseek consolidate landholding, mechanize production,intro-
duce cash crops,and apply industrially producedinputssuch as fertilizer,
and high-yield
insecticides, seeds.Land consolidation destroys sys-
traditional
temsof land tenurebased on inheritance and commonrightsof usufruct.
Mechanization decreasestheneedformanuallaborand makesmanyagrarian
workersredundantto production. The substitutionof cash cropsforstaples
underminestraditional social and economicrelationsbased on subsistence
(Chayanov,1966); and theuse ofmodeminputsproduceshighcropyieldsat
lowunitprices,whichdrivessmall,noncapitalist farmersoutoflocalmarkets.All
oftheseforcescontributeto thecreationofa mobilelaborforcedisplacedfrom
thelandwitha weakenedattachment to localagrariancommunities.

RawmaterialsTheextraction ofrawmaterials forsale on globalmarkets


methodsthatrelyon paidlabor.Theoffer
requiresindustrial ofwagestoformer
peasantsunderminestraditionalformsof social and economicorganization
basedon systems labor
andcreatesincipient
andfixedrolerelations
ofreciprocity
marketsbased on new conceptions privategain,and social
of individualism,
change.These trendslikewisepromotethe geographicmobilityof labor in
developingregions,oftenwithinternational
spillovers.

Labor Firmsfromcorecapitalist countries to


countries
enterdeveloping
establishassemblyplantsthattakeadvantageoflow wage rates,oftenwithin
specialexport-processing zones createdby sympathetic The de-
governments.
mandforfactory workers strengthens andweakenstradition-
locallabormarkets
al productive Muchofthelabordemandedisfemale,
relations. andthe
however,
resultingfeminizationoftheworkforce formen;butsince
limitsopportunities
446 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

thenewfactory workisdemanding andpoorlypaid,womentendonlytoworka


few years,afterwhichtimetheyleave to look fornew opportunities. The
insertionofforeign-owned factories
intoperipheral regionsthusundermines the
peasanteconomybyproducing goodsthatcompetewiththosemadelocally;by
feminizing theworkforce withoutproviding factory-based
employment oppor-
tunitiesformen; and by socializingwomenforindustrial workand modem
consumption, albeitwithoutproviding a lifetime
incomecapableof meeting
theseneeds.The resultis thecreationofa populationthatis sociallyand eco-
nomically uprootedand proneto migration.
The samecapitalist economicprocessesthatcreatemigrants in peripheral
regionssimultaneously attractthemto developedcountries. Althoughsome
peopledisplacedbytheprocessofmarket penetrationmoveto cities,leadingto
the urbanization of developingsocieties,inevitably manyare drawnabroad
becauseglobalization createsmaterialand ideologicallinksto theplaceswhere
The foreign
capitaloriginates. investment thatdriveseconomicglobalizationis
managedfroma smallnumberofglobalcities,whosestructural characteristics
createa strongdemandforimmnigrant labor.

Materiallinks In orderto ship goods,delivermachinery, extractand


exportraw materials, coordinatebusinessoperations,and manageexpatriate
assembly plants,capitalists and
in corenationsbuildand expandtransportation
communication linksto the peripheralcountrieswheretheyhave invested.
Theselinksnotonlyfacilitate themovementofgoods,products, information,
and capital,theyalso promotethemovement ofpeoplebyreducing thecostsof
movement along certaininternational
pathways. Becauseinvestmentand glob-
alizationare inevitablyaccompaniedby thebuild-upof a transportation and
communication infrastructure, movementof laborgenerally
theinternational
followsthe international movementof goods and capitalin the opposite
direction.

links The processof economicglobalization


Ideological createscultural
linksbetweencorecapitalistcountries withinthedevelop-
and theirhinterlands
ing world.In manycases,theseculturallinksare longstanding, reflectinga
colonialpastinwhichcorecountries established and educational
adrninistrative
systemsthatmirrored theirown in orderto governand exploita peripheral
region.CitizensofSenegal,forexample,learnFrench,studyatlycees,and use a
currency directlytiedto the Frenchfrancin economictransactions.Likewise,
Indiansand Pakistanis degrees,and join with
learnEnglish,takeBritish-style
othersin a transnationalunionknownas theBritish Commnonwealth. Evenin
theabsenceof a colonialpast,the influenceof economicpenetration can be
profound:Mexicansincreasingly studyat US universities,
speakEnglish,and
followAmericanconsumerstylesclosely.
Theseideologicalandculturalconnections bymasscommu-
arereinforced
nicationsand advertisingcampaignsdirectedfromthecorecountries.Television
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 447

programming fromtheUnitedStates,France,Britain, and Germany transmits


informationaboutlifestylesand livingstandards
in thedevelopedworld,and
commercials preparedby foreignadvertisingagenciesinculcatemodemcon-
sumertasteswithinperipheral peoples.Thediffusion
ofcorecountrylanguages
and culturalpatternsand thespreadofmodemconsumption patterns
interact
withtheemergence ofa transportation/communication
infrastructure
tochannel
international
migration to particular
corecountries.

Globalcities The worldeconomyis managedfroma relatively small


numberofurbancenters inwhichbanking, finance,administration,professional
services,and high-tech productiontendto be concentrated (Castells,1989;
Sassen,1991).In theUnitedStates,globalcitiesincludeNewYork,Chicago,Los
Angeles,and Miami; in Europe,theyincludeLondon,Paris,Frankfurt, and
Milan;andinthePacific, Tokyo,Osaka,and Sydneyqualify. Withintheseglobal
cities,a greatdeal ofwealthand a highlyeducatedworkforce areconcentrated,
a
creating strongdemandfor services from unskilled workers (busboys,gar-
deners,waiters, hotelworkers, domestic servants).Atthesametime,theshifting
ofheavyindustrial production overseas;thegrowth ofhigh-tech manufacturing
inelectronics, computers, andtelecommunications; andtheexpansionofservice
sectorssuchas healthand educationcreatea bifurcated labormarketstructure
withstrongdemandforworkersat boththeupperand lowerends,but with
relatively weak demandin themiddle.
Poorlyeducatednativesresisttakinglow-paying jobs at thebottomofthe
occupational hierarchy, creating a strongdemandforimmigrants. Meanwhile,
well-educated natives and skilledforeigners dominate thelucrative jobs at the
uppertierof the occupationaldistribution, and the concentration of wealth
amongthemhelpsto fuelthedemandforthetypeofservicesimmigrants are
mostwillingtomeet.Nativeworkers withmodesteducations clingtojobsinthe
decliningmiddle,migrateout of global cities,or relyon social insurance
programs forsupport.
Worldsystems theory thusarguesthatinternational migration followsthe
politicaland economicorganization ofan expandingglobalmarket, a viewthat
yieldssixdistinct hypotheses:
1 International migration is a naturalconsequenceof capitalist market
formation in thedeveloping world;thepenetration oftheglobaleconomyinto
peripheral regionsis thecatalyst forinternational movement.
2 The international flowoflaborfollowstheinternational flowofgoods
and capital,butin theoppositedirection. Capitalistinvestment foments changes
thatcreatean uprooted, mobilepopulationin peripheral countries whilesimul-
taneously forging strong material and culturallinkswithcorecountries, leading
to transnational movement.
3 International migration isespeciallylikelybetweenpastcolonialpowers
and theirformer colonies,because cultural,linguistic, administrative, invest-
ment,transportation, and communication linkswereestablished earlyandwere
448 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

allowedtodevelopfreefromoutsidecompetition during thecolonialera,leading


to theformation ofspecifictransnational markets and culturalsystems.
4 Sinceinternationalmigration stemsfrom theglobalizationofthemarket
economy, thewayforgovernments toinfluence immigration ratesis byregulat-
ingtheoverseasinvestment activitiesof corporations and controlling interna-
tionalflowsof capitaland goods. Such policies,however,are unlikelyto be
implemented becausetheyare difficult to enforce, tendto inciteinternational
tradedisputes,riskworldeconomicrecession,and antagonizemultinational
firmswithsubstantial politicalresourcesthatcan be mobilizedto blockthem.
5 Politicaland military
interventions by governments ofcapitalistcoun-
triesto protect
investments abroadand to supportforeign governments sympa-
theticto theexpansionoftheglobalmarket, whentheyfail,producerefugee
movements directedto particularcore countries,constituting anotherformof
internationalmigration.
6 Internationalmigration ultimately has littleto do withwage ratesor
employment betweencountries;it followsfromthe dynamicsof
differentials
marketcreationand thestructure oftheglobaleconomy.

The perpetuationof internationalmovement


Imunigrationmaybeginfora variety ofreasons-a desireforindividualincome
gain,an attempt riskstohouseholdincome,a program
todiversify ofrecruitment
to satisfyemployerdemandsforlow-wageworkers, an internationaldisplace-
mentof peasantsby marketpenetration withinperipheral regions,or some
combination But the conditions
thereof. thatinitiateinternationalmovement
may be quite differentfromthosethatperpetuateit acrosstimeand space.
Althoughwage differentials, relativerisks,recruitment and market
efforts,
penetration maycontinueto causepeopletomove,newconditions thatarisein
thecourseof migration come to function as independent causes themselves:
migrant networksspread,institutions supporting movementde-
transnational
velop,andthesocialmeaningofworkchangesinreceiving Thegeneral
societies.
thrust ofthesetransformationsis to makeadditionalmovement morelikely,a
processknownas cumulative causation.

Networktheory

tiesthatconnectmigrants,
Migrantnetworksare setsof interpersonal former
migrants,and nonmigrants in originand destination areas throughties of
kinship, and sharedcommunity
friendship, origin.Theyincreasethelikelihood
ofinternational
movement becausetheylowerthecostsand risksofmovement
and increasethe expectednet returnsto migration. Networkconnections
a formofsocialcapitalthatpeoplecan drawupon to gainaccessto
constitute
foreign
employment. Oncethenumberofmigrants reachesa critical
threshold,
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 449

the expansionof networksreducesthe costsand risksof movement, which


causestheprobabilityofmigration
to rise,whichcausesadditionalmovement,
whichfurther expandsthenetworks,and so on. Overtimemigratorybehavior
spreadsoutwardto encompassbroadersegments ofthesendingsociety(Hugo,
1981; Taylor,1986; Masseyand GarciaEspafia,1987; Massey,1990a, 1990b;
Gurakand Caces,1992).

Declining costs Thefirstmigrants wholeavefora newdestination haveno


social tiesto draw upon, and forthemmigration is costly,particularly
if it
involvesentering anothercountry withoutdocuments. After
thefirstmigrants
haveleft, however,thepotential costsofmigration aresubstantiallyloweredfor
friends and relatives
leftbehind.Becauseofthenatureofkinshipand friendship
structures, each new migrantcreatesa set of people withsocial ties to the
destination area. Migrantsare inevitablylinkedto nonmigrants, and thelatter
drawuponobligations implicitinrelationships suchas kinshipandfriendship to
gainaccessto employment and assistanceat thepointofdestination.
Once the numberof networkconnections in an originarea reachesa
criticalthreshold, migrationbecomesself-perpetuating because each act of
migration itselfcreatesthe social structureneeded to sustainit. Everynew
migrantreducesthe costsof subsequentmigration fora set of friendsand
relatives,andsomeofthesepeoplearethereby inducedtomigrate, whichfurther
expandsthesetofpeoplewithtiesabroad,which,inturn,reducescostsfora new
setofpeople,causingsomeofthemto migrate, and so on.

Decdining risks Networksalso make international migration extremely


as a strategy
attractive forriskdiversification.Whenmnigrant networks arewell-
developed,theyput a destination job withineasy reachof mostcommunity
members andmakeemigration a reliableand securesourceofincome.Thus,the
self-sustaining
growth ofnetworks thatoccursthrough theprogressive reduction
ofcostsmayalso be explainedtheoretically bytheprogressive reduction ofrisks.
Everynew migrant expandsthenetwork and reducestherisksofmovement for
allthosetowhomhe orsheisrelated, eventually makingitvirtually risk-freeand
costlessto diversify
householdlaborallocationsthrough emigration.
Thisdynamictheoryacceptsthe view of international migration as an
individualorhouseholddecisionprocess, butarguesthatactsofmigration atone
pointin timesystematically alterthe contextwithinwhichfuturemigration
decisionsare made,greatly increasing thelikelihoodthatlaterdecisionmakers
willchooseto migrate. The conceptualization ofmigration as a self-sustaining
diffusionprocesshas implications and corollaries thatare quitedifferent from
thosederivedfromthegeneralequilibrium analysestypicallyemployed tostudy
migration:
1 Once begun,international niigrationtendsto expandovertimeuntil
network connections havediffused so widelyin a sendingregionthatall people
450 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

who wish to migratecan do so withoutdifficulty; thenmigration beginsto


decelerate.
2 The size ofthe migratory flowbetweentwo countries is not strongly
correlatedto wage differentials
or employment rates,becausewhatevereffects
thesevariableshave in promoting or inhibitingmigration are progressively
overshadowed by thefallingcostsand risksofmovemnent stemming fromthe
growthofmigrant networks overtime.
3 As internationalmigrationbecomesinstitutionalized throughthefor-
mationandelaboration ofnetworks,itbecomesprogressively independent ofthe
factorsthatoriginally
causedit,be theystructuralor individual.
4 As networks expandand thecostsand risksofmigration fall,theflow
becomesless selectivein socioecononmictermsand morerepresentative ofthe
sendingcommunity or society.
5 Governments can expectto havegreatdifficultycontrollingflowsonce
theyhavebegun,becausetheprocessofnetwork formation lieslargelyoutside
theircontroland occursno matter whatpolicyregimeis pursued.
6 Certainimmigration policies,however,suchas thoseintendedto pro-
motereunificationbetweenimmigrants andtheirfamiliesabroad,workatcross-
purposeswiththe controlof immigration flows,sincetheyreinforce migrant
networks bygivingmembersofkinnetworks specialrights
ofentry.

Institutional
theory

Once international migration has begun,privateinstitutions and voluntary


organizationsariseto satisfy
thedemandcreatedbyan imbalancebetweenthe
largenumberofpeoplewhoseekentry intocapital-rich countriesandthelimited
numberofimmigrant visasthesecountries typically offer.Thisimbalance,and
the barriersthatcore countrieserectto keep people out, createa lucrative
economicniche forentrepreneurs and institutions dedicatedto promoting
international
movement forprofit,
yieldinga blackmarketin mnigration. As this
underground market createsconditionsconducivetoexploitation andvictimiza-
tion,voluntaryhumanitarian organizations also arisein developedcountries to
enforcethe rightsand improvethe treatment of legal and undocumented
migrants.
For-profit
organizations and privateentrepreneurs providea rangeof
servicesto migrantsin exchangeforfees set on the underground market:
surreptitious
smuggling acrossborders;clandestine transport tointernal
destina-
tions;laborcontracting betweenemployers and migrants; counterfeit
docu-
mentsand visas;arrangedmarriages betweenmigrants and legalresidentsor
citizensofthedestination country; and lodging,credit, and otherassistancein
countriesof destination. Humanitarian groupshelp niigrants by providing
counseling,socialservices, legaladviceabouthow to obtainlegitimate
shelter,
papers,andeveninsulation fromimmigration law enforcement authorities.
Over
time,individuals,firns,and organizations becomewell-known to immigrants
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 451

and institutionally anotherfonnof socialcapitalthatmi-


stable,constituting
grantscan drawupon to gainaccessto foreign labormarkets.
The recognition ofa gradualbuild-upofinstitutions, organizations, and
entrepreneurs dedicatedto arranging immigrant entry,legal or illegal,again
yieldshypotheses thatarealso quitedistinct
fromthoseemanating frommicro-
leveldecisionmodels:
1 As organizations
developtosupport, sustain,andpromote international
movement, theinternationalflowofmigrants becomesmoreand moreinstitu-
tionalizedand independent ofthefactors thatoriginallycausedit.
2 Governments havedifficulty
controllingmigrationflowsoncetheyhave
begunbecausetheprocessofinstitutionalization isdifficult
toregulate. Giventhe
profits
tobe madebymeeting thedemandforimmigrant policeefforts
entry, only
serveto createa blackmarketin internationalmovement, and stricterimmigra-
tionpoliciesare metwithresistance fromhumanitarian groups.

Cumulative
causation

In additionto the growthof networksand the developmentof migrant-


supportinginstitutions,
international
nmigration in otherwaysthat
sustainsitself
make additionalmovementprogressively more likelyover time,a process
Myrdal(1957) called cumulativecausation(Massey, 1990b). Causationis
cumulative in thateach actofmigration altersthesocialcontextwithinwhich
subsequentmigration decisionsaremade,typically inwaysthatmakeadditional
movement havediscussedsixsocioeconomic
morelikely.So far,socialscientists
factors
thatarepotentially affected
bymigration in thiscumulative fashion:the
distribution
ofincome,thedistribution ofland,theorganization ofagriculture,
theregionaldistribution
culture, ofhumancapital,and thesocialmeaningof
work.Feedbacksthroughothervariablesare also possible,buthave notbeen
systematicallytreated(Stark,Taylor,and Yitzhaki,1986; Taylor,1992).

Thedistributionof incomeAs we have alreadynoted,people may be


motivated to migrate notonlyto increasetheirabsoluteincomeor to diversify
theirrisks,
butalso toimprovetheirincomerelative tootherhouseholdsin their
referencegroup.As a household'ssenseofrelativedeprivation so does
increases,
the motivation to migrate.Beforeanyonehas migratedfroma community,
incomeinequality withinmostpoor,ruralsettings is notgreatbecausenearlyall
families levelwithminimaloutsideincomes.After
livecloseto thesubsistence
one ortwohouseholdshavebegunparticipating inforeignwagelabor,however,
remittances increasetheirincomesgreatly.Giventhecostsand risksassociated
withinternational movement, moreover,the firsthouseholdsto migrateare
usuallylocatedin themiddleor upperrangesofthelocalincomehierarchy.
Seeing some familiesvastlyimprovetheirincomethroughmigration
makesfamilies lowerintheincomedistribution feelrelatively
deprived,inducing
some of themto migrate, whichfurther exacerbatesincomeinequalityand
452 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

increasesthe senseof relativedeprivationamongnonmigrants, inducingstill


morefaniiliesto niigrate,
and so on. Incomeinequalityand relativedeprivation
go througha seriesof phases,beinglow at first, thenhigh as the rate of
outmigration thenlow againas a majority
accelerates, ofhouseholdsparticipate
in themigrant workforce,reachinga minimum whenpractically all families
are
involvedin foreign wage labor (Stark,Taylor,and Yitzhaki,1986; Starkand
Taylor,1989; Stark,1991; Taylor,1992).

Thedistributionofland An important spendingtargetformigrants from


ruralcommunities is thepurchaseofland. But land is purchasedby migrants
abroadtypically valueor as a sourceofretirement
foritsprestige incomerather
thanas a productive investment.
International migrantsare likelyto use their
higher earningstopurchasefarmland, buttheyaremorelikelythannonmigrants
to lettheland lie fallowsinceforeignwage laboris morelucrative thanlocal
agrarianproduction. Thispattern
oflanduse lowersthedemandforlocalfarm
labor,thereby increasingthepressures
foroutmigration. Themoreoutmigration,
the morepeople have accessto the fundsnecessaryto buy land,leadingto
additionalpurchasesby migrants and moreland withdrawn fromproduction,
creating stillmorepressureforoutmigration (Rhoades,1978; Reichert, 1981;
Mines, 1984; Wiest, 1984).

Theorganization
ofagrarianproductionWhenmigrant householdsdo farm
thelandtheyown,moreover, theyaremorelikelythannonmigrant families
to
use capital-intensive
methods(machinery, herbicides,irrigation, and
fertilizers,
improvedseeds)sincetheyhave accessto capitalto financetheseinputs.Thus
migrant householdsneedlesslaborperunitofoutputthannonmigrant house-
holds,thereby displacing
localworkers fromtraditional tasksand againincreas-
ingthepressures foroutmovement (Masseyet al., 1987). Themoremigration,
thegreater thecapitalization
ofagricultureand thegreater thedisplacementof
agrarianlabor,leadingto stillgreater
migration.

The cultureof migrationAs migrationgrowsin prevalencewithina


community, itchangesvaluesand cultural perceptionsinwaysthatincreasethe
probabilityoffuture migration. the
Among migrants themselves, experience in
an advancedindustrial economychangestastesand motivations (Piore,1979).
Although migrants maybeginas target earnersseekingtomakeonetripandearn
moneyfora narrowpurpose,after theyacquirea stronger
migrating conceptof
socialmobilityanda tasteforconsumer goodsandstyles oflifethataredifficult
to
attainthrough local labor.Once someonehas migrated, therefore, he or she is
verylikelytomigrate again,andtheoddsoftakingan additionaltriprisewiththe
numberoftripsalreadytaken(Massey,1986).
At the community becomesdeeplyingrainedintothe
level,migration
repertoireofpeople'sbehaviors, and valuesassociatedwithmigration become
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 453

partofthecommunity's values.Foryoungmen,and in manysettings young


womenas well,migration becomesa riteof passage,and thosewho do not
attemptto elevatetheirstatusthroughinternational
movement are considered
lazy,unenterprising,
and undesirable(Reichert,1982). Eventually,
knowledge
aboutforeign locationsand jobs becomeswidelydiffused, and values,senti-
ments,and behaviorscharacteristic
ofthecoresocietyspreadwidelywithinthe
sendingregion(Masseyet al., 1987; Alarcon,1992).

Theregional distributionofhumancapital Migration is a selectiveprocess


thattends,initially
at least,todrawrelativelywell-educated, skilled,
productive,
and highlymotivated peopleaway fromsendingcommunities (as pointedout
earlier,
however,migration tendstobecomelessselective overtimeas thecosts
and risksfallbecauseofnetwork formation). Sustainedoutmigration thusleads
to thedepletionofhumancapitalin sendingregionsand itsaccumulation in
receivingareas,enhancingtheproductivity ofthelatterwhileloweringthatof
theformer. Overtime,therefore, theaccumulation ofhumancapitalreinforces
economicgrowthin receiving areaswhileitssimultaneous depletion in sending
areasexacerbates theirstagnation, therebyfurtherenhancing theconditions for
migration(Myrdal,1957; Greenwood,1981, 1985; Greenwood,Hunt,and
McDowell,1987). Programs ofschoolconstruction and educationalexpansion
in sendingareas reinforce thiscumulativemigration processbecause raising
educationallevelsin peripheral ruralareas increasesthe potentialreturns to
migration and givespeoplea greater incentivetoleaveforurbandestinations at
homeor abroad.

Sociallabeling Withinreceivingsocieties,once inimigrants have been


recruitedintoparticularoccupationsin significant
numbers, thosejobs become
culturallylabeledas "immnigrantjobs" and nativeworkersare reluctant to fill
them,reinforcing thestructuraldemandforimmigrants. Immigration changes
the socialdefinitionof work,causinga certainclassofjobs to be definedas
stigmatizingandviewedas culturallyinappropriatefornativeworkers (B1ohning,
1972;Piore,1979).Thestigmacomesfromthepresenceofimmigrants, notfrom
ofthejob. In mostEuropeancountries,
thecharacteristics forexample,jobs in
automobile manufacturing cametobe considered "immigrant jobs,"whereasin
theUnitedStatestheyare considered "nativejobs."
Viewinginternational migrationin dynamictermsas a cumulative social
processyieldsa setofpropositions broadlyconsistent withthosederivedfrom
networktheory:
1 Social,economic,and culturalchangesbroughtaboutin sendingand
receiving countries
by internationalmigration givethemovementofpeoplea
powerful internalmomentum resistant
to easycontrolor regulation,sincethe
feedbackmechanisms of cumulativecausationlargelylie outsidethereachof
government.
454 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

2 Duringtimesofdomestic unemployment andjoblessness, governments


findit difficult
to curtaillabormigration and to recruitnativesback intojobs
formerly heldbyimmigrants. A valueshifthas occurredamongnativeworkers,
who refusethe"immigrant" jobs,makingitnecessary to retainor recruit
more
immigrants.
3 Thesociallabelingofa job as "immigrant" followsfromtheconcentra-
tionofimmigrants withinit; once immigrants have entereda job in significant
numbers, whateveritscharacteristics,
itwillbe difficult
torecruitnativeworkers
backintothatoccupationalcategory.

Migration
systems
theory

Thevariouspropositions ofworldsystems theory, network theory,


institutional
theory,and thetheoryofcumulative causationall suggestthatmigrationflows
acquirea measureofstability and structure
overspaceandtime,allowingforthe
identification
ofstableinternational migration systems. Thesesystems arechar-
acterizedbyrelatively intenseexchangesofgoods,capital,and peoplebetween
certaincountries and less intenseexchangesbetweenothers.An international
migration systemgenerally includesa corereceiving region,whichmaybe a
country orgroupofcountries, and a setofspecificsendingcountrieslinkedto it
byunusuallylargeflowsofimmigrants (Fawcett,1989; Zlotnik,1992).
Although nota separatetheory so muchas a generalizationfollowingfrom
theforegoing theories,a migrationsystems perspectiveyieldsseveralinteresting
hypotheses and propositions:
1 Countries withina system neednotbe geographically closesinceflows
reflect
politicaland economicrelationships ratherthanphysicalones.Although
proximity obviouslyfacilitatestheformation ofexchangerelationships, itdoes
notguaranteethemnordoes distanceprecludethem.
2 Multipolar systems arepossible,wherebya setofdispersed corecoun-
triesreceiveimmigrants froma setofoverlapping sendingnations.
3 Nationsmaybelongto morethanone migration system,butmultiple
membership is morecommonamongsendingthanreceiving nations.
4 As politicaland economicconditions change,systems evolve,so that
does notimplya fixedstructure.
stability Countries mayjoin or dropout ofa
system inresponsetosocialchange,economicfluctuations, orpoliticalupheaval.

Evaluation of theories
Becausetheories proposedtoexplaintheorigins andpersistence ofinternational
migration positcausal mechanismsat manylevelsofaggregation, thevarious
explanationsare not necessarilycontradictory unless one adopts the rigid
positionthatcausesmustoperateat one leveland one levelonly.We findno
a priorigroundsforsuchan assertion.
As statedearlier,
itis entirely
possiblethat
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 455

individuals engagein cost-benefit calculations;thathouseholdsactto diversify


labor allocations;and thatthe socioeconomiccontextwithinwhich these
decisionsare madeis determined bystructural forcesoperating at thenational
and international levels (Papademetriou and Martin,1991). Thus, we are
skepticalbothofatomistic theoriesthatdenytheimportance ofstructuralcon-
straintson individualdecisions,and ofstructural theoriesthatdenyagencyto
individuals and families.
Ratherthanadoptingthenarrowargument exclusivity,
oftheoretical we
adoptthebroaderpositionthatcausalprocessesrelevant tointernationalmigra-
tionmightoperateon multiple levelssimultaneously, andthatsorting outwhich
oftheexplanations are usefulis an empirical and notonlya logicaltask.Each
modelmustbe consideredon itsown termsand itsleadingtenetsexamined
carefullytoderivetestable propositions. Onlythencanwe clearly specifythedata
and methodsrequiredto evaluatethemempirically.
Theneoclassical economicmodelyieldsa clearempirical predictionthat,in
principle,shouldbe readily verifiable:thatthevolumeofinternational migration
is directly related,
and significantly overtimeand acrosscountries, to thesizeof
theinternational gap in wage rates.Regression analysestestingthetheoriesof
Lewis(1954) and Ranisand Fei (1961) shouldtherefore containtransnational
wage differentials as the leadingpredictor, withgeographic distancebetween
countries perhapsenteredas a proxyforthecostsofmovement.
Laterrefinements of the neoclassicalmodel,however,suggestthatthe
pertinent factorinmigration decisionmaking is theexpectedearnings gap,notthe
absolutereal-wagedifferential (Todaro,1969, 1976; Todaroand Maruszko,
1987).Atanypointintime,expectedearnings aredefined as realearningsinthe
country underconsideration multiplied bytheprobability ofemployment there.
Althoughtypically estimated as one minustheunemployment rate,thelikeli-
hoodofemployment isprobably moreappropriately measuredas one minusthe
underemployment rate,giventhepervasiveness ofsporadic,part-time employ-
mentin low-skill jobs withindeveloping regions.Thekeypredictor ofinterna-
tionalmigratory flowsisthusan interaction termthatcross-multiplies wagesand
employment A statistical
probabilities. testforthesignificance ofthisinteraction
term,comparedtoa regression modelwhererealwagesaloneappear,constitutes
a criticaltestcomparisonbetweenthe Ranis-Feiand theTodaroversionsof
neoclassicaltheory.(See Todaro,1980,andGreenwood, 1985,forreviewsofthe
substantialempirical researchliterature testing theTodaromodel.)
A logicalcorollary ofbothmodels,however,is thatinternational move-
mentshouldnotoccurin theabsenceofan international gapin eitherobserved
or expectedwages,and thatmovement betweencountries shouldcease when
wagedifferentialshavebeenerased(netofthecostsofmovement, monetary and
psychological).International flowsthatoccurin theabsenceofa wage gap,or
thatendbeforea gap has beeneliminated, represent anomalousconditions that
constitute primafacieevidencechallenging the assumptionsof neoclassical
economictheory.
456 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

At theindividuallevel,theTodaromodeland itssuccessors predictthat


individual and householdcharacteristics thatarepositively relatedtotherateof
remuneration ortheprobability ofemployment indestination areaswillincrease
the probability of migration by raisingthe expectedreturnsto international
movement. Hence,thelikelihood ofemigration ispredicted tobe reliablyrelated
to suchstandardhumancapitalvariablesas age,experience, schooling, marital
status,and skill.The propensity forinternational migration is also expectedto
varywitha household'saccesstoincome-generating resourcesathome(suchas
owninglandor supporting a businessenterprise), sincethesewillaffect thenet
return to movement.
Sincehumancapitalvariablesthataffect ratesofemployment and remu-
nerationin destination areasalso tendto affect wage and employment ratesin
placesof origin,a keyempiricalissueis wheretheeffect ofhumancapitalis
greater, athomeorabroad.Giventhefactthatinternational migration involvesa
changeoflanguage,culture, and economicsystem, humancapitalacquiredat
homegenerally transfers abroadimperfectly (see Chiswick,1979). In thiscase,
international migrants maybe negatively selectedwithrespect tovariables suchas
educationandjob experience.
AmongruralMexicans,forexample,theeconomicreturns to schooling
havehistorically beengreater inurbanareasofMexicothanintheUnitedStates.
Whereasan undocunmented migrant witha secondary educationgetsthesame
minimum-wage job in Los as
Angeles one with no schoolingat all, that
educationwould qualifythe same personfora clericalor whitecollarjob in
MexicoCity,thereby raisingthelikelihood ofrural-urban migration and lower-
ingtheprobability ofinternational movement(Taylor,1987).
Thispatternof negativeselectivity cannotbe hypothesized universally,
however,since selectionon human capitalvariablesdependson the trans-
ferabilityoftheskillorability underconsideration, whichitself is determined by
social,economic,and historical conditions specificto thecountries involved.In
general, anysocialchangethataffects themarket valueofhumancapitalineither
societyhas the potentialof shifting the size and directionof the relationship
betweenspecific predictor variablesand thelikelihoodofinternational move-
ment.
Thus it is nearlyimpossible,a priori,to predictthe directionof the
relationship betweenan individualbackground variableand theprobability of
migration, anditis consequently toderivea convincing
difficult testofneoclassi-
cal economictheory atthemicrolevelina reduced-form regression-that is,one
in whichthe probability of migration is modeleddirectly as a functionof
individual andhouseholdvariables. In general, theonlyuniversal prediction that
can be offered is thathumancapitalshouldsomehowbe reliably relatedto the
likelihoodof international movement, but the strength and direction of the
relationshipis impossible toknowintheabsenceofhistorical information about
thecountries involved.Onlyafter thehistorical circumstances havebeenclearly
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 457

specified and theirinfluence on thereturns to specific formsofhumancapital


clarified,can a critical testoftheneoclassicalmicroeconomic modelbe formu-
lated.
A moreformalalternative is to modeltheprobability ofmigration struc-
turallyas a function of the expectedincomedifferential, and simultaneously
modeltheexpected-income differentialas a function ofindividual and house-
hold variables.In thisway,the effects of individualbackground variableson
migration through theirinfluence on theexpected-earnings can be
differential
testedexplicitly. In addition,thepossibleeffects ofthesevariableson migration
independent oftheirinfluence on expectedearningscan be explored(Taylor,
1986). In theabsenceofstructural tests,it is difficultto falsify
microeconomic
theoryby examiningindividualregressions. The only evidencethatcould
conceivably castseriousdoubton thevalidity ofthehumancapitaltheoryof
migration would be the completeabsenceof a relationship betweenhuman
capitaland migration.
In contrast to neoclassical
economictheory, thenew economicsofmigra-
tionfocuseson the householdor family, ratherthanthe individual,as the
relevant decisionmaking unit;anditpositsthatmigration isa responsetoincome
riskand to failuresin a varietyof markets(insurance,credit,labor),which
together constrainlocal incomeopportunities and inhibitrisk-spreading. The
mostdirecttestofthistheory wouldbe torelatethepresenceorabsenceofsuch
marketimperfections to households'propensities to participatein international
migration. Ifthenew economicsofmigration is correct,householdsconfronted
by the greatest local marketimperfections shouldbe mostlikelyto adoptan
international migration strategy, otherthingsbeingequal.
Unfortunately, otherthingsgenerally are not equal. Typically thereis a
highcorrelation betweenmarket imperfections and othervariables(namelylow
wages and incomes)thatare the focusof the neoclassical(humancapital)
migration model.The greatest challengeofthisdirecttest,then,is to isolatethe
influence ofmarketimperfections and riskon international migration fromthe
roleofotherincomeand employment variables.
One of the mostdistinguishing contributions of the new economicsof
migration is itsintegration ofmigration decisionmaking withmigrants' remit-
tance behaviorand households'remittance use-aspects of migrationthat
hithertohave been treatedseparately in theliterature. Ifrisksto incomeand a
desiretoovercomelocalconstraints on production arethedriving forcesbehind
migration, then the outcomesof migration(e.g., the patternsand uses of
remittances) shouldreflectthisfact.A numberof indirecttestsof the new
economicsmodelare available.
If riskdiversification is the underlying motivation, thenmigrant remit-
tancesshouldbe greatest in householdsmostexposedtolocalincomerisksand
in periodswhen thisriskis most acute (e.g., duringa severedrought,as
demonstrated byLucasand Stark,1985).Ifa primary motivation ofmigration is
458 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

to overcomeriskand creditconstraints on local productionstemming from


market failures,thenmigration andremittances shouldpositively influence local
income-generating activities (Lucas,1987; Taylor,1992). Suchfindings would
provideevidencein favorofthenew economicsofmigration, becausepositive
effectsofmigration on local production are ruledoutby neoclassical
activities
economictheory, as areriskeffects. Neoclassicaltheory focuseson an individu-
al's maximization ofexpectedincomeand assumesthatmarkets are complete
and well-functioning.
The new economicsofmigration also placesmigration withina broader
community context, specificallylinkinga household'smigration decisionto its
positionin the local incomedistribution. The theoryof relativedeprivation
predictsthata household'soddsofsendingmigrants abroadaregreater thelarger
theamountofincomeearnedbyhouseholdsabove itin thereference income
distribution, and more generally, the greaterthe incomeinequalityin the
reference community. A systematic testofthisproposition requires a multi-level
statistical
modelthatnotonlycontainstheusualindividual andhousehold-level
predictor variables,butalsoincorporates thecommunity characteristicofincome
inequality, or an operationalmeasureof relativeincome.Starkand Taylor
(1989) foundthatrelative incomewas moresignificant thanabsoluteincomein
explaininginternational labor migration withina sampleof ruralMexican
households, exceptat thetwoextremes oftheincomedistribution.
Thenew economicmodelcan also be testedat theaggregate level.Unlike
theneoclassical model,riskdiversification allowsformovement intheabsenceof
international differences in wagesor employment rates,becauseitlinksmigra-
tionnotjustto conditions in thelabormarketbutto failures in thecapitaland
In
insurancemarketsas well. orderto testthisconceptualization, regressions
predicting international populationmovements shouldcontain,as independent
variables,indicators ofthepresenceorabsenceofinsurance programs (e.g.,crop
insuranceand unemployment insurance),the presenceor absence of key
markets (e.g.,futures and capitalmarkets), levelsofmarket coverage(percapita
measuresof marketparticipation), and transaction costs(e.g.,insuranceand
interestrates).In general,deficiencies intheseancillary markets arepredicted to
increasethesizeofinternational flowsand to raisethelikelihood thatparticular
householdssend migrants abroad,holdingconstantconditionsin the labor
market.
Although duallabormarkettheory positsa bifurcatedoccupational struc-
tureand a dual patternof economicorganization foradvancedindustrial
societies,in practiceit has proveddifficult to verifythissegmentedmarket
structureempirically (Cain, 1976; Hodsonand Kaufman,1982). Usuallythe
distinctionbetween"primary" and "secondary"sectorsis arbitrary, leadingto
inempirical
greatinstability estimatesanda highdegreeofdependency ofresults
on thedecisionrulechosentoallocatejobs to sectors(Tolbert, Horan,and Beck,
1980; Hodsonand Kaufman,1981; Horan,Tolbert, and Beck, 1981; but see
Dickensand Lang,1985,foran exceptionto thiscriticism).
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 459

Ratherthan attempting to verifythe empiricalstructure of the labor


market, therefore, a moreefficacious strategymightbe to focuson thetheory's
predictions regarding patternsof international movement,which are quite
specificand objectively testable.Pioreand othersarguethatimmigration is
drivenby conditions oflabordemandratherthansupply.In statistical models
thatregressseculartrendsin international migrationon changingmarket
conditions in sendingand receiving countries, one shouldtherefore observea
higherdegreeofexplanatory poweramongreceiving-country indicatorscom-
paredwiththoseforsendingcountries. Ifrealwagesandemployment conditions
are enteredintoan equationpredicting movementbetweenTurkeyand Ger-
many,forexample,Germanindicators shoulddominatein termsofpredictive
power.
Beingdemand-based, thedual labormarketapproachalso predicts that
international flowsof labor beginthroughformalrecruitment mechanisms
ratherthan individualefforts. In principle,it shouldbe easy to verifythis
proposition simplybylisting themajorinternational migration flowsthathave
emergedsince1950 and documenting whichoneswereinitiated byformalre-
cruitment procedures, either or If
public private. most orall oftheflowsaretrace-
abletosomesortofrecruitment program, thena keyprediction ofduallabormar-
kettheory willhavebeen sustained.In hisbook,Pioredoes notundertake this
exercise;herefersonlytoseveralcasesthathappentobeconsistent withhistheory
(foran exampleofsuchan exercise, however,seeMasseyandLiang,1989).
One lastprediction of dual labormarkettheoryis thatsecondary-sector
wagesareflexible downward, butnotupward.Overtime,therefore, fluctuations
in wage ratesin jobs filledby immmigrants shouldnot be strongly relatedto
fluctuationsin laborsupplyand demand.Duringperiodsoflow laborimmigra-
tionand highlabordemand,wages in receiving countriesshouldnot riseto
attractnativeworkersbecauseofinstitutional butduringperiodsof
rigidities,
highimrnigration andlow demandthereisnothing toprevent wagesfrom falling
in responseto competitive pressure.We thusexpectan interaction between
changesin wage ratesand whetheror not immigration was contracting or
expandingduringtheperiod:theeffect is expectedtobe zeroin theformer case
and negativein thelatter.We also expecta wideningwage gap betweenthese
jobs and thoseheldbynativeworkersovertime.
Although worldsystems theory constitutesa complexand at timesdiffuse
conceptualstructure, it yieldsseveralrelatively straightforward and testable
propositions, the firstof which is thatinternational flowsof labor follow
internationalflowsofcapital,onlyintheoppositedirection. According toSassen
and others,emigrants are createdby directforeigninvestment in developing
countriesand the disruptions thatsuch investment brings.Thus,we should
observethatstreams offoreign capitalgoingintoperipheral regionsareaccom-
paniedbycorresponding outflows ofemigrants.
Thisbasic migratory processshouldbe augmentedby the existenceof
ideologicaland materialtiescreatedby priorcolonizationas well as ongoing
460 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

processesofmarketpenetration. Ifone wereto specify a modelofinternational


migration flowsto testworldsystemstheory,therefore, one would want to
includeindicators of priorcolonialrelationships, the prevalenceof common
languages,theintensity of traderelations,theexistenceoftransportation and
communication links,and therelative frequency ofcommunications and travel
betweenthecountries.
Finally,worldsystems theoryspecifiesnotonlythatinternational migra-
tionshouldflowfromperiphery to corealongpathsofcapitalinvestment, but
also thatitis directedto certain"globalcities"thatchanneland controlforeign
investment. Although thetheory doesnotprovidespecific criteria
fordefininga
"1globalcity,"a setofoperational criteria
mightbe developedfrominformation
aboutcapitalassetsand corporate headquarters. One couldthenexaminethe
relative
frequency ofmovement toglobalcities,as opposedtootherplaceswithin
thedevelopedor developing world.
Networktheoryleads to a seriesof eminently testablepropositions.
According to Piore,Massey,and others,once someonehas migrated interna-
tionally,he or sheis verylikelyto do so again,leadingto repeatedmovements
overtime.Thusthelikelihood ofan additionaltripshouldincreasewitheachtrip
taken;theprobability oftransnational migrationshouldbe greateramongthose
withpriorinternational experiencethan among those withoutit; and the
likelihoodof additionalmigration shouldincreaseas the amountof foreign
experiencerises.
A secondproposition is thatcontrolling
fora person'sindividual migrant
experience,the probability of internationalmigration shouldbe greaterfor
individualswho arerelatedto someonewho has priorinternational experience,
or forindividuals connectedto someonewho is actuallylivingabroad.More-
over,the likelihoodof movementshouldincreasewiththe closenessof the
relationship(i.e.,havinga brother in Germany is morelikelytoinducea Turkto
migrate therethanhavinga cousin,a neighbor, or a friend);and itshouldalso
risewiththequalityofthesocialcapitalembodiedin therelationship (havinga
brotherwho has livedin Germany fortenyearsis morevaluableto a potential
emigrant thanhavingone who has justarrived, and havingone who is a legal
residentis betterthanhavingone who lacksresidencedocuments).
Anotherhypothesis stemsfromtherecognition thatinternationalmove-
mentrequires migrants toovercome morebarriers thandoesinternal movement.
In additionto thenormalcostsoftraveland searching forworkarethecostsof
learningand adaptingto a new culture,the costsof acquiringappropriate
documentation, and,ifacquiring legalpapersisimpossible,ofevadingarrest and
deportation. In general,thegreater thebarriersto movement, themoreimpor-
tantshouldnetwork tiesbecomein promoting migration,sincetheyreducethe
costsand risksofmovement. We shouldthusobservethatnetwork connections
are systematically more powerfulin predicting internationalmigration than
internalmigration. Taylor(1986) findsthisdifferentiated effect of migration
networks fora sampleofMexicanhouseholds.
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 461

Withinhouseholds,we shouldalso be able to detecttheeffect of social


capitalon individual migration behavior.In general,members ofhouseholdsin
whichsomeonehas alreadymigrated abroadshoulddisplayhigherprobabilities
of movementthanthosefromhouseholdsthatlack migratory experience. If
networktheoryis correct, forexample,a commonvectorbywhichmigratory
behavioris transmitted is fromfathers to sons(Masseyetal., 1987). Dependent
sonswhosefathers are activeor former international migrants shouldbe more
likelyto emigrate thanthosewhosefathers lackforeign experience.
Finally,at thecommunity level,one shouldbe abletoobservetheeffect of
theprevalence ofnetwork ties.Peopleshouldbe morelikelytomigrate abroadif
theycomefroma community wheremanypeoplehavemigrated and wherea
largestockofforeign experience has accumulated thaniftheycomefroma place
whereinternational migration is relatively uncommon(Masseyand Garcia
Espafia,1987). Moreover,as thestockofsocialtiesand international migrant
experience growsovertime,migration shouldbecomeprogressively lessselec-
tiveand spreadfromthemiddleto thelowersegments ofthesocioeconomic
hierarchy. In general,then,individual orhouseholdmigration decisionsneedto
be placed withina local setting, suggesting the need formulti-level analytic
modelsincorporating indexesofnetworkconnections withinthecommunity.
Institutionaltheoryarguesthatdisparities betweenthe supplyof and
demandforentryvisasintocorereceiving societiescreatea lucrative nichefor
entrepreneurs to providelicitand illicitentryservices,and thattheexploitation
thatresultsfromthisdisparity willalso prompthumanitarian organizations to
interveneon immigrants' behalf.The establishment and growthofinstitutions
dedicatedto facilitatingimmigration constitutes anotherformof socialinfra-
structurethatpersistsover timeand increasesthe volumeof international
populationmovements.
Althoughit may be feasiblethroughcase studiesto documentsuch
institutional
development anditseffect on immigration, itismoredifficulttolink
institutions
to aggregate populationflowsor micro-level migration decisionsin
an analyticallyrigorous fashion.On specialsurveys, migrants and nonmigrants
mightbe asked whethertheyare aware of institutions providing supportto
immigrants, and responses tothisquestionmaybe usedtopredict thelikelihood
of movement.Or the presenceof such organizations mightbe documented
acrosscommunities and used to predicttherateofoutmigration at thecom-
munitylevel,or, in a multi-level model,the probability of emnigrationat the
individualor householdlevel.
Lastly,thetheoryof cumulativecausationstatesthegeneralhypothesis
thatmigration sustainsitselfin sucha waythatmigration tendsto createmore
migration. This hypothesis followsfromthe proposition thatindividualor
householddecisionsare affected by the socioeconomic contextwithinwhich
theyaremade,and thatactsofmigration at one pointin timeaffect thecontext
withinwhichsubsequentdecisionsare made. Migrationdecisionsmade by
familiesand individualsinfluencesocial and economicstructures withinthe
462 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION

community, whichinfluencelaterdecisionsby otherindividualsand house-


holds.On balance,the changesat the community levelincreasethe odds of
subsequentmovement, leadingto migration's cumulative causationovertime
(Masseyet al., 1987; Massey,1990b).
The systematic testing
of thistheoryposes substantial data demands.In
ordertotestforcumulative causationattheaggregate levelusingcross-sectional
data,complicated recursive systemsof structural equationsmustbe specified,
and thesetypically requireinstrumental variablesthataredifficultto defineand
identify,especially in international
datasets.Ideallythetheory shouldbe tested
usingmulti-level longitudinal data, which containvariablesdefinedat the
individual,household,community, and perhapsevennationallevels,all mea-
suredat different pointsin time.Onlywithsucha data setcan thereciprocal
feedbackeffects of individualor householddecisionson social structure be
discerned and measured.
Thetheory ofcumulative causation,whileinmanywaysstillrudimentary
in its development, does pointto severalfactorsas particularly important in
channeling thefeedback betweenindividual behaviorandcommunity structure.
The firstfactoris migrantnetworks, suggesting the need to gatherdetailed
infornation aboutkinandfriendship tiesbetweenmigrants andnonmigrants. A
secondfactoris incomeequality,whichrequirestheaccuratemeasurement of
householdincome.A thirdis landdistribution, whichrequiresdetaileddataon
landtenureandownership. A fourth,
pertaining onlytoruralareas,isthenature
of agrarianproduction, whichrequiresinformation on the use of irrigation,
machinery, hiredlabor,herbicides, pesticides, and improvedseeds by both
migrant and nonmigrant The lastand perhapsmostdifficult
families. factorto
measurein testing forcumulative causationis culture, whichrequiresinforma-
tionaboutbeliefs, values,and nornativepractices.
Ideallyall ofthesefactors shouldbe measuredlongitudinally, althoughin
somecases-culture,forexample-thiswouldbe nextto impossible. Giventhe
difficultyofsecuring information
longitudinal on changesin theprevalenceof
migrantnetworks,the degreeof incomeinequality,the skewnessof land
distribution, and thecapitalintensiveness of agricultural
production, an alter-
nativestrategy mightbe to relyon geographic in thesefactors
diversity across
communities, specifying recursivestructural equationsystemsto model the
feedbacks, but thisapproachraisesserioustechnicalissues withrespectto
identification and instrumentation.
The finalconceptualschemewe discussedwas thesystems perspective,
whicharguesthatcausalforcesoperating at a varietyoflevelslenda degreeof
pernanencetointernational flowsand overtimeleadtotheemergence ofstable
mnigrationsystems. Thesesystems are characterized largeflowsof
by relatively
migrants betweenmembercountries comparedtoflowsfromoutsidethesystem.
Verifyingtheexistenceofsuchsystems is a straightforwardempirical matter of
establishingsomethreshold ofintensityforinclusionofa flowwithina systemnic
DOUGLAS S. MASSEY ET AL. 463

and thenapplyingit to identify


structure, in theworldtoday.
thoseprevailing
alongtheselineshave alreadybeenattempted
Some efforts (Zlotnik,1992).

Conclusion
Theoriesdevelopedto understandcontemporary processesof international
migration positcausal mechanisms thatoperateat widelydivergent levelsof
analysis.Although thepropositions, assumptions, and hypotheses derivedfrom
each perspective are notinherently contradictory,theynonetheless carryvery
differentimplications forpolicyfornulation.Dependingon whichmodel is
supported and underwhatcircumstances, mightrecommend
a socialscientist
thatpolicymakers attempttoregulate migration
international bychanging wages
and employment conditionsin destination countries;by promoting economic
development in origincountries; byestablishingprograms ofsocialinsurance in
sendingsocieties;byreducing incomeinequality in placesoforigin;byimprov-
ingfutures orcapitalmarkets in developing regions;orbysomecombination of
theseactions.Or one mightadvisethatall oftheseprograms arefruitless
given
thestructural imperatives forinternational movementgrowingout ofmarket
economicrelations.
Whateverthe case, giventhe size and scale ofcontemporary migration
flows,and giventhepotential formisunderstanding and conflict
inherentin the
emergence ofdiverse,multi-ethnic aroundtheworld,political
societies decisions
aboutinternational rnigrationwillbe amongthemostimportant madeoverthe
nexttwodecades.Likewise, sorting outtherelative empirical
support foreachof
thetheoretical schemesand integrating themin lightofthatevaluationwillbe
amongthemostimportant taskscarriedoutbysocialscientists in ensuingyears.
We hopethatbyexplicating theleadingtheories ofinternationalmigrationand
byclarifying theirunderlying assumptions and keypropositions, we have laid
thegroundwork forthatnecessary empiricalwork.

Note

The authorsare membersoftheIUSSP Com- primaryresponsibilityforwritingthe textof


mitteeon South-North Migration,which is buttheideas,concepts,and
thispresentation,
currentlyundertakinga systematic
examina- conclusionsexpressedin the articleare the
tionoftheoriesofinternational
migration
and collectivework of all committeemembers.
theevidencesupportingthem.TheCommittee Thecommittee welcomescomments and criti-
is chairedby Douglas S. Massey,who took cismsfrominterested readers.

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