NAFTA and determinants of Mexico's internal migration: 1995-2005




Flores Segovia, Miguel Alejandro

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The purpose of this dissertation is to study the determinants of interstate migration flows for the period 1995--2005. I use panel data techniques for the estimation of extended gravity models in order to identify variables contributing or deterring contemporary interstate migration flows in Mexico. Particular focus is placed on the role of regional patterns of industrial concentration in different economic sectors as possible push or pull factors for internal migrants.

The findings suggest that higher wages at origins discourage out-migration, and higher wages in the destination places act as a pull factor for in-migration. Internal migrants seem to be discouraged from embarking on interstate migration as the risk associated with labor market volatility increases. A state's relative concentration in the manufacturing sector is in a greater manner associated with deterring out-migration flows rather than positively affecting inflows of migrants. Nonetheless, its effects on the migratory system become significant when this sector interacts with geography. The Northern Border, in particular, does pull internal migrants.

The study explores the role of regional industrial concentration on certain economic activities, finding that the relative specialization in the agricultural sector influences the Central part of Mexico, while changes in the professional services sector influence the Capital region. The commerce sector seems to have strong and positive effects for inflows of migrants in the Southern region.

These findings support the argument that regions in Mexico are to some extent segmented following particular dynamics in terms of their economic development and their relationship with internal population movements.


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employment volatility, industrial concentration, internal migration, NAFTA, wages