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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