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The Choice of Migration Destination: A Longitudinal Approach using Pre-Migration Outcomes

By Edward Funkhouser


I use longitudinal data to examine the relationship between individual and household outcomes prior to emigration and choice of migration destination. In addition, I have separately pooled data on Nicaraguans in the destination countries. These two types of data together provide a rich description of the determinants of choice of destination for Nicaraguan emigrants. For emigration to both the United States and Costa Rica, patterns of emigration are consistent with individual wage gains. The main finding, though, is that emigrants to Costa Rica have characteristics similar to non-emigrants and that emigration to Costa Rica is based relatively more on the current economic condition of the sender household. In contrast, emigration to the United States is based on the accumulated pre-emigration labor market success of emigrants' households in Nicaragua. These findings suggest that household pre-migration factors may be more important than individual factors as determinants of the location decision. Copyright � 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1467-9361.2009.00523.x
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