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Educational Opportunity and Immigration in México: Exploring the Individual and Systemic Relationships


by José Felipe Martínez, Lucrecia Santibanez & Edson E. Serván Mori — 2013

Background/Context: Much research has investigated the complex interplay between education and migration. Education has been alternatively conceptualized as playing an important role as motivator or deterrent of future migration. This relationship, however, is often investigated in terms of coarse indicators of educational attainment.

Purpose: In this paper we investigate a less commonly explored side of the link between education and immigration. Our study estimates the relationship between immigration and educational quality and opportunity for the case of Mexico and the United States. Using these indicators we are able to delve deeper into how education affects migration decisions. Studying the relationships between immigration rates and aggregate indicators of education quality and opportunity can shed light into the ways in which education systems and governmental structures may influence or react to immigration patterns among school-age children.

Research Design: Data for this study come from three different sources: The Mexican Family Life Survey (MXFLS), which contains information on individual migration decisions; the Oportunidades program, which contains extensive family socio-economic characteristics and school quality indicators; and data from the National Population Council of Mexico, which contains socio-economic and demographic information about communities. Taking advantage of this data, we use logistic and linear regression models to estimate the relationship between education quality and migration.

Results: Our results suggest significant relationships between individual decisions to migrate and indicators of educational access, quality, and opportunity, suggesting that the experiences and opportunities afforded to individuals and families in school throughout the years can be of consequence for explaining immigration decisions and patterns.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Our analyses raise questions for delineating a framework for studying the relationship between educational quality and immigration. Such a framework should consider that not only individuals may have a lower incentive to further their schooling, but communities and even authorities may also have a lower incentive to improve school quality and opportunity.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 10, 2013, p. 1-24
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17143, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 6:00:25 PM

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About the Author
  • José Martínez
    UCLA
    E-mail Author
    JOSÉ FELIPE MARTÍNEZ is an Assistant Professor of Social Research Methodology at the School of Education at UCLA, where he teaches graduate courses in Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics. His research focuses on methodological issues in the study of classroom practice and educational opportunity, and its relationship to student achievement. His work on teacher portfolios for measuring classroom practice has been supported by the WT Grant and Spencer foundations. Before moving to UCLA he was an Associate Behavioral Researcher at The RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA.
  • Lucrecia Santibanez
    RAND
    E-mail Author
    LUCRECIA SANTIBANEZ is an economist at the RAND Corporation and associate director of the RAND Center for Latin American Social Policy (CLASP). Before joining RAND, she was an assistant professor of public policy at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City, where she taught introductory statistics and econometrics. She has published on teacher incentives and labor markets, education policy, and determinants of school quality. Other areas of interest include school-based management, ICTs in education, teacher evaluation, and early childhood development policies in Latin America.
  • Edson Serván Mori
    The National Institute of Public Health - Mexico
    E-mail Author
    EDSON E. SERVÁN MORI is a Medical Science Researcher in the Health Economic Division of the Center for Evaluation and Survey Research at The National Institute of Public Health in Mexico. He has a Master in Economics by The Center of Economics Research and Teaching (CIDE). His areas of interest include Development Economics, Micro-econometrics, and Social Policy and Poverty.
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