The New System of Mexican Migration: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis

McNeil 150
October 14, 2019 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Postdoctoral Fellow
Princeton University
Speaker Biographies: 

Josh is an NSF-funded postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University’s Office of Population Research and an academic year visiting scholar in sociology at Harvard University. His scholarly interests encompass social stratification, international migration and immigrant incorporation, race/ethnicity, and health. Josh’s current research investigates how changing patterns of international migration can both disrupt and reinforce social inequality in sending and receiving contexts.

Josh is currently engaged in three lines of research. His first project investigates the shift in Mexico-U.S. migration from primarily unauthorized entry toward a system dominated by legal temporary workers—since 2007, the number of undocumented Mexican immigrants has declined, while Mexican entries on temporary work visas surpassed 900 thousand in 2017. In a working paper (with Douglas Massey), Josh demonstrates that migration-specific human and social capital tends to be specific to particular modes of entry. Given this fact the circular migration of temporary legal workers is likely to move forward in a path-dependent fashion while undocumented migration continues to wither. Josh is currently collecting data on the spatial and temporal distribution of legal temporary workers in the United States to better understand how guest worker "importation" has evolved over time and whether it co-varies with changes in the U.S. unauthorized population.

In a second project, Josh is also developing a new statistical technique to estimate “lifetime effects” of parental migration on children’s educational attainment. His method uses retrospective data to match children of migrants with children of non-migrants who grew up in nearly identical households and communities in order to isolate the effect of parental migration during childhood on educational attainment in adulthood. Preliminary results suggest that parental migration contributes positively to children’s educational attainment, an effect that may be obscured in cross-sectional studies. The proposed estimation technique has broad applicability for research on the long-term effects of international and internal migration.

In his third project, an on-going collaboration with Jacqueline Hagan, Josh draws on survey data and more than eight years of fieldwork to investigate labor market reintegration and access to health care among Mexican migrants who have returned to Mexico. During academic year, 2019-2020, they will begin work on a monograph that explores women’s experiences of return migration based on demographic survey data and roughly 300 in-depth interviews conducted in four Mexican states. In addition, they are currently preparing an invited review of global return migration for the Annual Review of Sociology. Articles based on this research appear in Social Forces, Social Problems, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Population Research, and Policy Review, and Current History.

Along with these  projects, Josh also investigates disparities in health and access to health care by race/ethnicity and immigrant status. Publications on these topics appear in the American Journal of Public Health, Population Research and Policy Review, Demographic Research, and the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

In 2018, Josh received his PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a predoctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center and co-directed an interdisciplinary working group on international migration and immigrant incorporation. Josh’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, UNC’s Institute for the Study of the Americas, and the UNC Graduate School. In 2017, Josh received the Odum Award for research excellence from the Sociology Department at UNC. He also served as an Associate Editor of Social Forces.