International Migration, Spousal Control, and Gender Discrimination in the Allocation of Household Resources

Francisca M. Antman, University of Colorado at Boulder

This paper considers how parental migration affects the allocation of resources within the household while a parent is away and after he has returned. To overcome problems associated with the endogeneity of migration, I use a difference-in-difference regression model and longitudinal data on household expenditures and decision making. Overall, evidence suggests that having a father migrate to the U.S. from Mexico decreases the fraction of expenditures spent on boys relative to girls in both education and clothing while the father is away. After the father has returned to Mexico, however, the fraction of expenditures spent on boys rises, going beyond the initial allocation. At the same time, data on household decision making reveal that the household head is more likely to report that he alone makes expenditure decisions for his children following a recent migration spell, suggesting that international migration affects bargaining power within the household.

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Presented in Session 25: Immigrant Origin Areas: Issues and Impacts