This paper examines the optimal migration duration of Mexican immigrants in the USA using individual-level data from the Mexican Migration Project (MMP). A simple theoretical model rationalizes the decision of the migrant to return to Mexico, despite higher wages in the USA. I use the Cox proportional hazard model to empirically examine the determinants of return migration of Mexican immigrants. This paper contributes to the literature by introducing distances from origin states in Mexico to destination states in the USA as a proxy for costs of migration and uses a US expected wage measure instead of the average US real wages. The empirical analysis shows that the optimal migration duration increases as the US expected wage increases. Importantly, tighter US migration policies have an ambiguous effect on the optimal migration duration while longer distances decrease the hazard of return to their state of origin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management