Migrant Intentions to Return: The Role of Migrant Social Networks

Catia Batista

Nova School of Business and Economics, CReAM, IZA, and NOVAFRICA

Francesco Cestari

Nova School of Business and Economics and NOVAFRICA


ISSN 2183-0843
Working Paper No 1602
December 2016


Social ties are potentially an important determinant of migrants’ intentions to return to their home country. This relationship has, however, not been addressed in the economics literature on international migration. This study examines the absolute and relative importance of migrant social networks, at both destination and origin, on migrant return intentions. Using rich data on social networks of immigrants, we explore the effects of heterogeneous characteristics of social network members on different time horizons for return. After controlling for unobserved heterogeneity and reverse causality biases, we find that the social network at home seems to be the most important determinant of the migrant’s intention to return home within five to ten years.

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