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Migrant agency and community structure: Competing explanations for economic decline in migrant sending communities of rural central Mexico

Richard C. Jones


In response to Giddens' structuration theory, this study attempts to unravel the linkages between migration and local economic growth by moving beyond the household to the community level of analysis, and by considering lagged relationships over several years. The case study -24 towns in central Zacatecas, Mexico-concludes that remittances from US migration play an ambiguous role, providing basic income but at the same time resulting in more expenditures outside the community, which results in a lower multiplier effect and lower growth rates (measured by population growth). The reason for the externalization of expenditures is not so much the migration experience itself, as the socio-economic structure of sending communities, including their small populations and poor employment structures, which put overwhelming constraints on their growth and development.


migration; economic growth; structure; agency; Mexico

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