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Abstract

Our study asks whether, and in what ways,  gains in education and employment are reversed when the out-migration of men abruptly slows, return migration increases, and the population sex-ratio shifts away from female-skewed communities. The 2008 U.S. recession disproportionately affected industries employing lower-skilled immigrant labor; the result was a 72% decline in male out-migration to the U.S. from Mexico (Villareal 2014). Net migration between Mexico and the U.S. dropped from 2.3 million during 1995-2000 to -20,000 during 2005-2010 and to -130,000 during 2010-2014 (Gonzalez-Barrera 2015). These changes appear to have had a significant impact on the sex-composition of Mexican communities. Figure 1 displays the population sex-ratio by age in 2000, 2010, and 2015. 

We draw from several population-representative data sets to ask two questions.

(1) We begin by pooling Census and intercensal estimates to ask: at the macro-level, what impact did the temporal shift in sex-ratios have on the employment, earnings, and occupational status of women?

(2) We then use longitudinal panel data to ask whether these effects appear concentrated among women in homes with returning migrants or whether they include spillover effects to communities at-large. These data also allow us to assess changes in women’s perceptions of their ability to make autonomous decisions about employment (with Dr. Jenna Nobles).

Publication forthcoming.