Migrant Networks and the Spread of Information

30 Pages Posted: 8 May 2018

See all articles by Benjamin Elsner

Benjamin Elsner

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Gaia Narciso

Trinity College Dublin

Jacco Thijssen

University of York - The York Management School

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

Diaspora networks provide information to future migrants, which affects their success in the host country. While the existing literature explains the effect of networks on the outcomes of migrants through the size of the migrant community, we show that the quality of the network is an equally important determinant. We argue that networks that are more integrated in the society of the host country can provide more accurate information to future migrants about job prospects. In a decision model with imperfect signalling, we show that migrants with access to a better network are more likely to make the right decision, that is, they migrate only if they gain. We test these predictions empirically using data on recent Mexican migrants to the United States. To instrument for the quality of networks, we exploit the settlement of immigrants who came during the Bracero program in the 1950s. The results are consistent with the model predictions, providing evidence that connections to a better integrated network lead to better outcomes after migration.

Suggested Citation

Elsner, Benjamin and Narciso, Gaia and Thijssen, Jacco, Migrant Networks and the Spread of Information (June 2018). Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 80, Issue 3, pp. 659-688, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3175001 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obes.12216

Benjamin Elsner (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.benjaminelsner.com

Gaia Narciso

Trinity College Dublin ( email )

Dublin
Ireland

Jacco Thijssen

University of York - The York Management School ( email )

Sally Baldwin Buildings
Heslington
York, North Yorkshire YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

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