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Geographic Proximity and the Pro-trade Effect of Migration: State-level Evidence from Mexican Migrants in the United States

Michael Good

2013 Papers from Job Market Papers

Abstract: I estimate the effect that migrants have on international trade between states of current residence and states of origin. The pro-trade effect of migration has been thoroughly examined since the mid-1990s, connecting both destination countries with origin countries and destination sub-national divisions with origin countries, respectively. However, a recent emphasis on the importance of geographic proximity to the migration-trade link leads me to pose the questions of how localized the trade-enhancing effect of migrants actually may be and how proximity matters for this relationship. My analysis provides the first results as to the migration-trade nexus at the state level for both places of destination and origin, relying on a unique data set allowing the mapping of Mexican-born migrants' US states of residence to Mexican states of origin; this ensures a more precise measurement of both migrant networks and other potential determinants of international trade, including the distance and mass variables fundamental to the standard gravity model. In addition to an augmented gravity model, I employ generalized propensity scores in examining the potential of nonlinearities in the migration-trade relationship. Furthermore, I unmask the distinct levels of geographic proximity that a single migration estimate disguises, estimating statistically significant elasticities of exports to both in-state and neighboring-state migration. These figures are not only qualitatively but also quantitatively important, corresponding to partial contributions of $1984 (in-state) and $538 (neighboring-state) to annual exports between respective US and Mexican states associated with each average additional migrant.

JEL-codes: F1 F2 J6 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-12-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-int, nep-mig and nep-ure
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