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Can Migration reduce Education Attainment? Evidence from Mexico

Author(s): D. J. McKenzie H. Rapoport

This paper examines the impact of migration on educational attainment in rural Mexico. Using historical migration rates, the article  demonstrates the evidence of a significant negative effect of migration on schooling attendance and attainment of 12 to 18 year-old boys and 16 to 18 year-old girls. The results of statistical tests show that living in a migrant household lowers the chances of boys completing junior high school and of boys and girls completing high school. This is consistent with migration increasing the opportunity cost, and lowering the expected return to education. The negative effect of migration on schooling is somewhat mitigated for younger girls with low educated mothers, which is consistent with remittances relaxing credit constraints on education investment for the very poor. However, for the majority of rural Mexican children, family migration depresses educational attainment. The paper shows that living in migrant households significantly increases the chances of boys migrating themselves at all school ages and of older girls (between the age of 16 and 18) doing housework.

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Author(s): D. J. McKenzie H. Rapoport


Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development


July 2006

Main theme(s):

Children Left Behind Independent Child Migration

Sub-theme(s): Internal South - South

Tertiary theme(s): Economic Rural - Urban

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Keywords: Age Benefits Country - Mexico Education Opportunity Gender Household Survey Latin America Methodology


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