Community or Connections? A Social Networks Approach to Chain Migration

Randall Kuhn, University of Colorado at Boulder

This paper introduces a social networks approach to the process of chain migration. Using a unique combination of survey and vital registration data for the Matlab Subdistrict of Bangladesh, I construct measures of past migrant stock that are specific to household lineage and residential compound groups, and to social networks that share historical links to those groups. Regression models predict the hazard of subsequent urban-rural and international migration in terms of migrant stock for these newly specified networks alongside effects for the village and household. Migrant stock for residential compound and social networks are strong predictors of the hazard of migration, particularly of rural-urban migration, explaining away about 50% of the village migrant stock effect. This demonstrates the potential value of social network-based measures of social capital, the extraordinary benefits of using Demographic Surveillance System data for migration research, and concerns regarding a village-based specification of migration-specific social capital.

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Presented in Session 169: Migrant Networks: Operation and Effects