A Contextual Model of Labor Return Migration

Joshua Wassink , Office of Population Research, Princeton University
Jacqueline Hagan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Since 2005, 2.5 million Mexicans have returned home from the United States, many of whom are opting to settle permanently in Mexico rather than re-migrate abroad. To understand the labor market reintegration of these returnees, we develop a contextual model of return labor migration (CRLM). Building on an eight-year study that included repeated interviews with 152 returnees, we show how migrants’ labor market plans evolve as they gain information, acquire resources, and transition through life-course stages. But, as our contextual analysis demonstrates, the migrant life course does not unfold in a vacuum: rather, the timing of return, cohort membership, and transnational family ties interact with the social, economic, and spatial features of origin communities. These contextual features shape migrants’ acquisition and mobilization of human and financial capital across the migratory circuit.

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 Presented in Session 191. Return Migration