Mathew Creighton presents his paper 'To move or not to move (when one arguably has the social capital)' co-authored by Fernando Riosmena, in Parallel session III(C) of the conference Examining Migration Dynamics: Networks and Beyond, 24-26 Sept 2013
Prior migrants with ties to migrants-to-be provide the latter with important information and assistance to move and find accommodations and work in destinations. Individuals with better access to migration-specific social capital are considerably more likely to aspire to and eventually migrate themselves. However, it is less understood why some individuals with access to migrant networks and the associated migration-specific social capital do not “make use” of this social capital and remain in their countries of origin. Among potential migrants, instances of leaving social capital dormant could manifest as behavior (i.e., no subsequent migration) or a change in aspirations (i.e., no longer seeing migration as a potential pathway). As such, they represent an interesting case for migration theory and a way to obtain some analytical leverage to better understand migration decisions. In this paper, we compare the U.S. migration intentions and behavior according to whether they have no, moderate, or larger access to migrant networks. We use two waves from the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS), collected in 2002 and 2005/6, to assess the translation of migration networks and stated aspirations to migrate into subsequent migration behavior, taking into account baseline sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics, migrant networks and emigration aspirations. Among those that do not migrate, we distinguish those that remain and continue to aspire to a future move from those that no longer consider migration to be an option.