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The book Mexican Immigration to the United States, Edited by George J. Borjas is published by University of Chicago Press.
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We present models that do and do not control for age at arrival and citizenship status to assess the extent to which the large number of missing values for these variables alters coefficients. Model 1 does not control for these variables. The similar coefficients for age and education across models suggest that cases missing age of arrival and citizenship status do not substantially bias estimates. We find that increasing age, longer duration in the United States, younger age of arrival, and U. In both models, the probability of having contributed increases monotonically with age.

Moreover, respondents who were in the United States 10—19 years were Respondents who spent at least 20 years in the United States were The effect of duration in the United States is mitigated, however, upon controlling for age of arrival and citizenship status. Upon controlling for these variables Model 2 , those who were in the United States 10—19 years were not more likely to have contributed and those who spent 20 or more years in the United States were only Combined, these two models suggest the strong effect of age of arrival and U.

Model 2 also shows that, not surprisingly, migrants who first arrived to the United States as children were more likely to contribute than those who arrived at age 50 years and older. We also analyzed whether contributions to the Mexican and U. We found that a similar proportion of migrants who did and did not contribute to the U.

Mexican Immigration to the United States, Borjas

When introduced into Model 2 on Table 3 , this variable was not statistically significant and did not improve the fit of the model. We also tested the robustness of our results by restricting the sample to those aged 62 and older and, in separate analysis, those aged 65 and older. We found that the direction of the predictors of interest did not change results not shown.

This is one of the few studies that examines whether Mexican return migrants contributed to the U. Although Turra and Elo and Vega examine the migration patterns of primary social security beneficiaries, these studies do not examine return migrants who contributed to the U.

Several factors emerge as possible explanations. Our results show that few of those who contributed and returned to Mexico had acquired U. In addition, our results show that many of these migrants did not spend the requisite number of years in the United States.

Mexican Immigration to the United States

It should be noted that most of those who contributed to the system whether or not they expect to receive benefits spent less than 10 years in the United States, indicating they did not contribute to the system for many years. However, the bulk of contributions to the ESF come from industries characterized by transient employment SSA OIG, , likely from individuals who did not contribute to the system many years.

This suggests that short-term contributions, in aggregate, comprise a large part of the entire ESF. Yet another explanation for the low proportion of migrants who receive or expect to receive benefit is a lack of knowledge of the U. Return migrants who contributed to the U.

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Several limitations are worth noting. We examine the characteristics associated with having contributed to the U. Nonetheless, this analysis provides a descriptive portrait that may be helpful in projecting the future effects of emigration on the U. There were also a large number of missing values among those who did and did not contribute to the U. Nonetheless, introducing these two variables into the regression model did not substantially change results, save for the effect of duration in the United States, suggesting minimal bias.

We also do not examine women due to small sample sizes. This limitation does not preclude the utility of this analysis, however, given the predominance of males among the ex-U. Yet another limitation is that due to data constraints, we are not able to determine the amount of social security contributions made by return migrants or the number of years they contributed to the system.

Nonetheless, knowing the proportion of return migrants who contributed provides a necessary starting point for a comprehensive analysis of the economic implications of elderly return migration. Such an analysis would be a worthy future endeavor. This calculation would require, at a minimum, a full U.

It would then be possible to impose OASDI tax rates on wages and determine eligibility to claim benefits. This information could then be used to estimate the added revenues created by the contributions of Mexican return migrants to the U. Unfortunately, this information is not currently available in the MHAS. More detailed data are needed in order to construct models that predict the probability of contributing to the U.

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Knowing the proportion of return migrants who contributed, however, elucidates an important component of the equation used to determine the solvency of the U. Different point estimates on the levels of international migration can have dramatically different effects on estimates of the payroll tax required to keep the system solvent Wilmoth, Thus, although not a comprehensive account of the contributions of return migrants, our results move us closer to understanding a critical piece of this equation. Currently, emigrants factor into U. This large number is surprising given that the vast majority of those who contributed Hence, even in light of restrictive immigration policies that bar undocumented immigrants from being employed in the United States, a substantial number still secure employment and contribute to the U.

Moreover, as only 5. It is worth highlighting that Mexican return migrants are a selected population. There is a large literature documenting the differences between Mexican emigrants to the United States compared to those who stay in Mexico e. According to Borjas , theoretically Mexican immigrants are negatively selected due to the higher wage inequality in Mexico than in the United States.

According to the extended version of this theoretical model, Borjas and Bratsberg predict that Mexican emigrants are positively selected.


However, there is no conclusive evidence as to whether immigrants or return migrants are positively or negatively selected on education, earnings, health, and other characteristics. In the present study, we find that a lower proportion of return migrants were U. Our results, therefore, cannot be extrapolated to older Mexican immigrants in the United States given their stronger ties to the United States and likely greater propensity to contribute to the system. Nonetheless, this suggests that even though our sample represents those least likely to have contributed to the system compared to all immigrants who enter the United States , a large proportion still contribute to the U.

This finding sheds new light on the contentious national debate as to the effects of immigration on the U. Our results illuminate a potential added revenue to the U. The contributions of immigrants who will not receive benefits when they reach retirement age.

Because a large portion of these reserves are thought to come from undocumented immigrants SSA OIG, , there has been some discussion from advocacy groups and other policy experts about expanding social programs for immigrant integration using funds from the ESF e. However, it may be complicated to distinguish the unclaimed work credits of undocumented immigrants from those resulting from legitimate errors such as name misspellings, digit transpositions in social security numbers, among others. Moreover, individuals are entitled to correct these type of errors while they are still working or even at the moment of applying for retirement benefits.

The results from the present study suggest that a vast majority of migrants who post to the ESF and return to their home countries will not eventually draw upon this fund. These migrants contributed to the system, albeit typically for only a couple years, and emigrated before qualifying for benefits, thus providing added revenue to the U. Admittedly, this positive balance is just one of the myriad of factors that warrant attention in the complex equation determining the net costs and benefits of immigration to the U. Nonetheless, as the U. Despite this economic contribution, however, there are drawbacks to the large reserves in the ESF.

By working in the United States, migrants disrupt their working lives in Mexico and potentially diminish their economic security during later life. More than one in five return migrants who contributed to the U. For over a decade, these migrants did not contribute to the Mexican social security system, possibly rendering them less likely to receive Mexican social security benefits. Thus, by working in the United States and contributing the U. It is necessary to determine if these ex-U. Totalization agreements are agreements between the United States and other countries to coordinate social security systems across two countries.

One of the goals of these agreements is to integrate the work histories of workers who divided their careers between the United States and another country when determining their social security benefits. Under these agreements, migrants who worked in the United States could pool the years they worked in the United States and in the home country in order to qualify for home country benefits.

Mexico currently does not have a Totalization Agreement with the United States. Although in the U. Social Security Commissioner and the General Director of the Mexican Social Security Institute signed a social security agreement between Mexico and the United States, it has not been formally approved by either government Sullivan, Although the costs of such an agreement remain unclear U. Our results suggest that a Totalization Agreement with Mexico may enhance former U. However, this would depend on the specific rules of such an agreement such as whether undocumented immigrants would be allowed to claim benefits.

As previously mentioned, there may be many challenges to accurately identify the work credits of undocumented immigrants. More detailed data sets are needed to identify whether Mexican return migrants who contributed to the U. Such information would enable estimation of different scenarios regarding the proportion of individuals that could benefit from such an agreement. Please visit the article online at http: This work was supported by the U. We also thank three anonymous reviewers whose comments helped improve the manuscript. The research reported herein was pursuant to a grant from the U.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Published online Jan Find articles by Emma Aguila. Find articles by Alma Vega. Received Mar 4; Accepted Jul For permissions, please e-mail: Return migration, Social security, Retirement benefits. Background International migration will continue to exert great influence in the United States. Sample Our sample includes Mexican-born males living in Mexico aged 50 years and older who at some point returned from the United States.

Statistical Analysis Descriptive differences in the independent variables between those who did and did not contribute to the U. Results Table 1 shows that among ex-U. Proportion who reported having ever contributed to the U. Proportion who reported receiving or expecting to receive U. Open in a separate window. Robust SE s are presented. Discussion This is one of the few studies that examines whether Mexican return migrants contributed to the U. Supplementary Material Please visit the article online at http: Funding This work was supported by the U.

United States and Mexico: Costs of extending the noncontributory pension program for elderly: Occupational trajectories of legal US immigrants: Population and Development Review , 34 , — The determinants and the selection of Mexico—US migrants. The World Economy , 35 , — Current policy issues stemming from the legalization programs of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The International Migration Review , 31 , 5— Population aging and the rising cost of public pensions. Population and Development Review , 30 , 1— People of Plenty David M.

Borjas and Lawrence F. Blau and Lawrence M.

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Fairlie and Christopher Woodruff 5. Mexican Immigration and Self-Selection: The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants during the s: Nigel Harris Development Policy Review. A rich collection of thoughtful, rigorous and original contributions. The papers enhance knowledge of the economic consequences of immigration for both Mexico and the U. By , their growing numbers accounted for Mexican Immigration to the United States analyzes the astonishing economic impact of this historically unprecedented exodus. Why do Mexican immigrants gain citizenship and employment at a slower rate than non-Mexicans?

Does their migration to the U. And how rapid is the intergenerational mobility among Mexican immigrant families? This authoritative volume provides a historical context for Mexican immigration to the U. Mexican Immigration to the United States will be necessary reading for anyone concerned about social conditions and economic opportunities in both countries.