Nancy Chau on the push and pull forces of migrant border crossing

WIDER Seminar Series

Nancy Chau on the push and pull forces of migrant border crossing

Nancy Chau will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 17 August 2022.

On the push and pull forces of migrant border crossing: The role of family networks


Do traditional push and pull forces of migration influence the locational choice of border crossings? In this paper, we study crossing behavior along the Mexican-U.S. border at a time when stark differences in physiography and border enforcement intensities are featured at predictable places along the border. We write a model which reveals the pattern of self-selection along the border to be alternative-specific: pull migration forces attracts migrants to relatively easy border crossings, while push forces additionally compel migrants to discount crossing hazards. Consistent with these predictions, we find that individuals with US family ties are negatively and then positively selected in the high-hazard Tucson sector of the US-Mexican border respectively before and after the major border enforcement operations in the mid 1990's. By contrast, poverty per se was associated with weakly negative selection throughout. We then discuss the migration hazard consequences of border enforcement reforms by bringing in distributional concerns.

About the speaker

Professor Nancy Chau joined the faculty in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell in 1999.  Professor Chau's research interests fall under three main areas: international trade, regional economics, and economic development.

Professor Chau was recently awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship, and the first T. W. Schultz Award of the International Agricultural Economics Association.  Her publications has appeared in journals such as Economic Journal,  European Economic Review, International Economic Review, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Economic Growth, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Public Economic Theory, and the World Bank Economic Review.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases the latest research on key topics in development economics. It provides a forum for senior and early-career researchers, both in-house and external, to present recent and ongoing work related to UNU-WIDER’s current work programme.

In addition to providing a forum for both academic debate and training, the series presents an opportunity for policy makers and others interested in development to learn about the latest research methods and findings.

The Seminar Series events take place on Wednesdays. All those interested are invited to register and attend via Zoom.