Mexican Migration and Its Effect on the Union Formation Patterns of Women in Sending Communities

Kate H. Choi, University of California, Los Angeles

Mexican migration is characterized by the circular migration of men and the permanence of women in sending communities. The sex-selective nature of Mexican migration diminishes the gains to marriage for non-migrant wives by forcing them to assume additional household responsibilities during their spouses’ absences and decreases the number of marriageable men in local marriage markets. Despite the altering effects of male migration on factors previously shown to influence union formation, little is known of the association between male migration and women’s entry into unions. This paper explores the relationship between male migration and women’s union formation. It finds that women living in municipalities with a high prevalence of male migration are less likely to enter into a union compared to their counterparts in low migration regions. Moreover, the negative association between male migration and women’s entry into unions is predominantly mediated by the change in the number of marriageable men.

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Presented in Session 23: Union Formation