Exploring the Links Between Immigration and Educational Quality and Opportunity in Mexico

Published in: CIDE, Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas, Jan. 2009, p. 1-25

Posted on RAND.org on September 01, 2009

by Jose Felipe Martinez, Lucrecia Santibanez, Edson Servan

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This paper explores the relationship between education and immigration from two complementary angles: first we explore how educational experiences and opportunities offered to students in the Mexican educational system may be related with individual expectations and decisions to migrate to the United States. Second, we investigate the relationship between rates of migration and a range of indicators of educational quality including student achievement. Our results suggest some patterns of association between migration rates and indices of school quality, opportunity to learn and student achievement at the municipal level. These results are indicative only of potential relationships between variables, but do not support any conclusions about the directions of the relationship. However, the initial results are consistent with the notion that an expectation to migrate lowers incentives for people to continue their schooling. Our findings, also suggest that high migration municipalities may offer fewer schooling opportunities. This raises questions about the degree to which cycles of migration in these communities may be reinforced because lower school quality decreases the rates of return to schooling for individuals in those communities, as well as opportunities for future educations advancement.

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