Migrant Networks and International Migration: Testing Weak Ties

Mao-Mei Liu, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

This paper examines the dynamic role of migrant social networks in international migration and extends prior research by including a range of weak ties in individuals’ personal networks and attempting to disentangle network effects from family reunification and endogeneity. Prior research has traditionally neglected friends and family ties beyond parents, siblings, spouses and children. Using the longitudinal MAFE-Senegal data (2008) collected in both Africa (Senegal) and Europe (France, Italy and Spain), this paper tests the robustness of network theory, and in particular the role of weak ties, on an individual’s first migration between Africa and Europe. Preliminary discrete-time hazard model results confirm the importance of ties of all strengths and that the impact appears to be gendered, but do not uphold previous literature’s contention that strong ties are more important than weak ties in explaining migration of males and only slightly so for female migration

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Presented in Session 156: Immigration in Comparative Perspective