Was natural increase a determinant of international migration in Latin America and the Caribbean between 1975 and 2010?

Victoria Prieto Rosas, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

During the first half of the 20th Century the net migration rates of Latin American and Caribbean countries (LA&C)were typically positive, but in the seventies they became negative, turning LA&C into an out-migration area. This coincided with the onset of Demographic Transition in many countries of the region, but little is known on how both processes have been related. Is demographic growth one of the driving forces of international migration? And if so, how important was it? Was it still relevant in the times when other demographic inhibitors - such as urbanization or productivity increases - were at stake? Country level data provided by the UN Population Division, the World Bank and the Quality of Governance Institute, was organized into a macro-panel, where 14 countries have been followed up from 1975 to 2010, in 7 five-year observations and a multivariate linear model with country dummy variables and panel corrected errors was estimated. Following the approach recently developed by De Santis & Salinari (2011)the effect of previous years´ natural increase on net international migration was tested, controlling for other variables, such as economic growth, average educational level or political instability. Moreover, the effect of other socio-economic processes considered to work as demographic inhibitors, such as urbanization and industrialization, were also taken into account. Similar to what has been found by Salinari & De Santis (2011), for the Trans-Saharan migration system, results show that the natural increase has a negative and significant effect on explaining the evolution of net migration in the long-run. Urbanization is a significant inhibitor of the effect of natural increase on net migration, meaning that while urbanization is going on part of of the demographic bulk is absorbed by internal migration.

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Presented in Poster Session 3