Migration and Development

Alícia Adserà • Rafaela Dancygier • Douglas S. Massey • Alejandro Portes • Karen Pren • Magaly Sanchez-R • Marta Tienda


Alícia Adserà and Ferrer, A. (University of Waterloo, Canada) published their article, “Occupational Skills and Labour Market Progression of Married Immigrant Women in Canada,” in Labour Economics. Using confidential files of the 1991-2006 Canadian Census, combined with information from O*NET on the skill requirements of jobs, they explore whether immigrant women behave as secondary workers, remaining marginally attached to the labour market and experiencing little career progression over time. The results show that the current labour market patterns of female immigrants to Canada do not fit this profile, as previous studies found, but rather conform to patterns recently exhibited by married native women elsewhere, with rising participation and wage progression. At best, only relatively uneducated immigrant women in unskilled occupations may fit the profile of secondary workers, with slow skill mobility and low-status job-traps. Educated immigrant women, on the other hand, experience skill assimilation over time: a reduction in physical strength and an increase in analytical skills required in their jobs relative to those of natives.


Rafaela Dancygier’s book, Dilemmas of Inclusion: Muslims in European Politics, is forthcoming. It states that as Europe’s Muslim communities continue to grow, so does their impact on electoral politics and the potential for inclusion dilemmas. In vote-rich enclaves, Muslim views on religion, tradition, and gender roles can deviate sharply from those of the majority electorate, generating severe trade-offs for parties seeking to broaden their coalitions. Dilemmas of Inclusion explains when and why European political parties include Muslim candidates and voters, revealing that the ways in which parties recruit this new electorate can have lasting consequences.

Drawing on original evidence from thousands of electoral contests in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain, Dancygier sheds new light on when minority recruitment will match up with existing party positions and uphold electoral alignments and when it will undermine party brands and shake up party systems. She demonstrates that when parties are seduced by the quick delivery of ethno-religious bloc votes, they undercut their ideological coherence, fail to establish programmatic linkages with Muslim voters, and miss their opportunity to build cross-ethnic, class-based coalitions. Dancygier highlights how the politics of minority inclusion can become a testing ground for parties, showing just how far their commitments to equality and diversity will take them when push comes to electoral shove.

Providing a unified theoretical framework for understanding the causes and consequences of minority political incorporation, and especially as these pertain to European Muslim populations, Dilemmas of Inclusion advances our knowledge about how ethnic and religious diversity reshapes domestic politics in today’s democracies.


Douglas Massey and an interdisciplinary team of researchers continue work on the Latin American Migration Project (LAMP). The Latin American Migration Project (LAMP) is a multidisciplinary research effort between investigators in various countries of Latin America and the United States. LAMP, which is currently based at Princeton University and the University of Guadalajara, was born in 1998 as an extension of the Mexican Migration Project (MMP). LAMP's purpose is to extend this research to migration flows originating in other Latin American countries.

LAMP started surveys in Puerto Rico, and expanded later with fieldwork carried in Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. In addition, a modified version of the LAMP survey was implemented in Paraguay to study migration from that country to Argentina. Most recently, using a revised version of the survey, fieldwork started in Uruguay in order to understand migration flows arriving to Uruguay from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru, and Venezuela. The LAMP allows to compare the characteristics and behavior of documented and undocumented migrants; understand the various migration flows emanating from these countries; and support longitudinal analysis on these migration processes (Roa Martínez ed., 2016).


The article, “The Precarious Position of Latino Immigrants in the United States: A Comparative Analysis of Ethnosurvey Data,” was published by Douglas Massey, Durand, J. (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económica), and Pren, K., in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. A majority of Mexican and Central Americans living in the United States today are undocumented or living in a marginal, temporary legal status. This article is a comparative analysis of how Mexican and non-Mexican Latino immigrants fare in the U.S. labor market. The authors show that despite higher levels of human capital and a higher-class background among non-Mexican migrants, neither they nor Mexican migrants have fared very well in the United States. Over the past four decades, the real value of their wages has fallen across the board, and both Mexican and non-Mexican migrant workers experience wage penalties because they are in liminal legal categories. With Latinos now composing 17 percent of the U.S. population and 25 percent of births, the precariousness of their labor market position should be a great concern among those attending to the nation's future.


Douglas Massey’s article, “The Mexico-U.S. Border in the American Imagination,” was published by the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. The border between Mexico and the United States is not just a line on a map. Nor is it merely a neutral demarcation of territory between two friendly neighboring states. Rather, in the American imagination, it has become a symbolic boundary between the United States and a threatening world. It is not just a border but the border, and its enforcement has become a central means by which politicians signal their concern for citizens' safety and security in a hostile world. It has become routine for politicians and pundits to call federal authorities to task for failing to "hold the line" against a variety of alien invaders-communists, criminals, narcotics traffickers, rapists, terrorists, even microbes.

In this paper, Massey offers a brief history of the Mexico-U.S. border as a symbolic demarcation in the American mind before discussing its rise to prominence in recent years. After documenting the concrete expression of the border's rising prominence in terms of the U.S. enforcement effort, he reviews the dysfunctional consequences of border enforcement as a public policy and conclude by considering why, after decades of obviously counterproductive results, defending the border continues to be such a potent political metaphor in American political discourse.


Douglas Massey, Rugh, J. (Brigham Young University), Steil, J. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Albright, L. (Northeastern University) published “Riding the Stagecoach to Hell: A Qualitative Analysis of Racial Discrimination in Mortgage Lending,” in City & Community. Recent studies have used statistical methods to show that minorities were more likely than equally qualified whites to receive high-cost, high-risk loans during the U.S. housing boom, evidence taken to suggest widespread discrimination in the mortgage lending industry. The evidence, however, was indirect, being inferred from racial differentials that persisted after controlling for other factors known to affect the terms of lending. Here they assemble a qualitative database to generate direct evidence of discrimination. Using a sample of 220 statements randomly selected from documents assembled in the course of recent fair lending lawsuits, they code texts for evidence of individual discrimination, structural discrimination, and potential discrimination in mortgage lending practices. The authors find that 76 percent of the texts indicated the existence of structural discrimination, with only 11 percent suggesting individual discrimination alone. They then present a sample of texts that were coded as discriminatory to reveal the way in which racial discrimination was embedded within the social structure of U.S. mortgage lending, and to reveal the specific microsocial mechanisms by which this discrimination was effected.

Much like the United States, Western Europe has experienced massive immigration in the last three decades. Spain, in particular, has been transformed from an immigrant-exporting country to one receiving hundreds of thousands of new immigrants. Today, almost 13 percent of the country's population is foreign-born. Spanish Legacies: The Coming of Age of the Second Generation, was written by internationally known experts on immigration, Alejandro Portes, Aparicio, R. (Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Spain), and Haller, W. (Clemson University). The authors explore how the children of immigrants - the second generation - are coping with the challenges of adaptation to Spanish society, comparing their situation with that experienced by their peers in the United States. Using a rich data set based on both survey and ethnographic material, Spanish Legacies describes the experiences of growing up by the large population of second generation youths in Spain and the principal outcomes of the process - from national self-identification and experiences of discrimination to educational attainment and labor-market entry. The study is based on a sample of almost 7,000 second-generation students who were interviewed in Madrid and Barcelona in 2008 and then followed and re-interviewed four years later. A survey of immigrant parents, a replacement sample for lost respondents in the second survey, and a survey of native-parentage students complement this rich data set. Outcomes of the adaptation process in Spain are systematically presented in five chapters, introduced by real-life histories of selected respondents drawn by the study's ethnographic module. Systematic comparisons with results from the United States show a number of surprising similarities in the adaptation of children of immigrants in both countries, as well as differences marked by contrasting experiences of discrimination, self-identities, and ambition.


In the article, “International Migration and National Development from Orthodox Equilibrium to Transnationalism,” published in Sociology of Development, Alejandro Portes reviews theoretical perspectives on migration and development, starting with nineteenth-century political economy theories focused on “colonizing” migrations from England and other European powers and concluding with the emerging literature on immigrant transnationalism and its consequences for sending nations. The general concept of equilibrium has until currently dominated orthodox economic theories of both colonizing and labor migrations from peripheral regions to advanced nations. The counteroffensive, led by Gunnar Myrdal and theorists of the dependency school, centered on the notion of cumulative causation leading to increasing poverty and the depopulation of peripheral sending areas. Both perspectives registered numerous empirical anomalies, stemming from a common view of migration flows as occurring between separate politico-economic entities. An alternative conceptualization of such flows as internal to an overarching global system has improved our understanding of causes and consequences of labor migration and has framed the back-and-forth complexities of these movements captured in the novel notion of transnationalism.


Maria Medvedeva (Princeton University, Princeton Writing Program) and Alejandro Portes’ study, “Immigrant Bilingualism in Spain: An Asset or a Liability Quercus?” published in International Migration Review looks at the ongoing debate about bilingual advantage and examines whether bilingual immigrant youths fare better, as well as, or worse academically than the matching group of monolinguals. Using data from Spain, where close to half of immigrants speak Spanish as their native language, they found no evidence of costs of bilingualism: bilingual youths did benefit from their linguistic skills. Their advantage, however, manifested itself not uniformly across discrete outcomes, but in a direct trajectory toward higher educational attainment. Bilingualism neutralized the possible negative effect of ethnic origins and extended the positive effect of high parental ambition. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.


Magaly Sanchez-R’s project, “International Migration of High Skills Educated and Talent to United States,” is advancing the coding analysis of data. Qualitative data was collected from in-depth interviews with 150 immigrants from different places throughout the world, as well with other key actors in private corporations, policy makers and academia. Principal aspects of the data contain information on in-security and quality-of-life conditions, social services access, global market competition, integration and identity, and diversity and knowledge. After finishing coding from Venezuelans interviews, she is proceeding with Latino, European, Asian and Arabs HSE Interviews coding. Whereas simultaneously she is advancing the analysis for future publication.


Attending by invitation of Dauphine University and La Maison des Sciences de l Homme Paris North, Magaly Sanchez-R participated at the Seminar Global Climate Change, Violent conflicts and International Migration MSH-PN, September 30 Paris where she presented her contribution in the area of global climate change as an opening speaker. Magaly Sanchez-R’s talk in the area of global climate change, violent conflicts and international migration referred to a major concern focused on the repercussions of global climate change for future international migration, as well as for potential conflicts and violence steaming from natural resource alterations. Areas of the world with major vulnerabilities are already exposed to significant side effects from global atmospheric changes, such as high temperatures, desertification, excessive rain, flooding just to refer to likely consequences. Understanding the alarming problems that could emerge, and considering as unprecedented experience, constitutes a serious challenge. Nevertheless, given the seriousness of the issue she calls to an attentive position that should consider the maximum number of possible scenarios.


Magaly Sanchez-R, gave a lecture, “Violence Criminelle et Politique a l’origine de la Migration International des personnes très qualifies. Le cas du Venezuela, at la Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales EHESS in Paris. In this lecture she accentuated her analysis on the progression of the criminal violence and the complexity of connections with the political violence, the progressive authoritarianism from the National State, the severe humanitarian crisis and how all this collapse is affecting the majorly of population with high cost in terms of human capital.


Magaly Sanchez-R was a featured speaker at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions Conference, Human Rights in the Americas: Are We Serious? Princeton University, May 6, 2016. Sanchez-R, presented “Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela: Some Indicators” to illustrate how the situation in Venezuela has been fast declining to the point of a humanitarian crisis and total collapse of the system, with never-seen-before indicators. Given this situation, the official discourse promoted by the Executive continues to deny the crisis and reject the severity of the situation. Accepting the crisis would denote a failed model. Alternatively, the Executive power continues to blame an “economic war” advanced by the “American empire.” Using several demographics indicators, she demonstrated the severity of the humanitarian crisis, proving how the political and socio-economic model imposed in Venezuela 18 years ago has failed, and this collapse is express in the already-growing social crisis in the country, with levels of poverty of 73% in 2016.


At the International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) 2016, Magaly Sanchez-R’s presentation, “The Fuzzy Relations between Criminal Economy, Social Actors and National States: Venezuela Scenario,” argues how in Venezuela recent national and international incidents in Venezuela have demonstrated the blurry relations between key political and military actors and the cartels of the criminal economy. In the context of violence and non-control of it, the impunity and expansion of human rights violation by military forces and the fight between paramilitary groups created anarchy, and the total disappearance of quality of life .creating a massive emigration of Venezuelan as well as a forced deportation of Venezuelans-Colombians by the state and military.


Magaly Sanchez-R, in coordination with Karen Pren, Boriana Pratt, and Dawn Koffman made public in the Data Archives of OPR, the quantitative data that resulted from the application of the LAMP’s ethno survey questionnaire to a selected sample of Venezuelan immigrants. The first data collection effort used a snowball sampling strategy and applied a modified ethno survey schedule to Venezuelan immigrants located in areas of Venezuelan settlement throughout the United States. Although Ethno surveys usually originate in sending communities and only later expand to include interviews in destination Areas. Venezuela’s present insecurity and political turmoil made sending-side surveys impossible. Although most Interviews were carried out among Venezuelans living in the United States, a few were conducted with Venezuelan residents of other countries. http://opr.princeton.edu/archive/hse/


Marta Tienda has been working on several papers about intermarriage that focus on variations by nativity, age at migration and marriage markets. During her sabbatical, she successfully revised three manuscripts, two of which are forthcoming and another that is undergoing a second revision. In addition, she began a fourth paper about intermarriage that examines how Hispanics’ multiracial identities play out in intermarriage behavior.