Handbook of Research Methods in Migration
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Handbook of Research Methods in Migration

Edited by Carlos Vargas-Silva

Covering both qualitative and quantitative topics, the expert contributors in this Handbook explore fundamental issues of scientific logic, methodology and methods, through to practical applications of different techniques and approaches in migration research.
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Chapter 9: Using Longitudinal Data to Study Migration and Remittances

Edward Funkhouser


Edward Funkhouser One of the most important recent developments in research on the effects of international migration and remittances is the availability of longitudinal data that allow researchers to follow individuals or households over time. Such data allow for before-and-after comparisons and the ability to control for unobserved characteristics that are constant over time. As a result, new directions in the literatures examining the motives to migrate and remit and the effects of migration and remittances on sender household outcomes have been developed that take advantage of these data. This chapter will describe how longitudinal data can be used in research on the migration decision and the effects of migration and remittances. The first section will describe the advantages and disadvantages of longitudinal data compared with cross-sectional data. The second section will address some of the issues the researcher confronts when constructing a longitudinal data set. The chapter will then focus on two broad types of research questions for which longitudinal data provide a fresh approach compared to the existing literature. The third section will explore how longitudinal data allow the researcher to relate pre-migration outcomes to the subsequent migration decision. And the fourth section will describe recent approaches in the use of longitudinal data to examine the effects of emigration and remittances on sender-household outcomes. 9.1 CROSS-SECTIONAL VERSUS LONGITUDINAL DATA IN THE STUDY OF MIGRATION AND REMITTANCE OUTCOMES Consider a migration process in which individuals or households choose to migrate based on some observable and some unobservable characteristics: Mi,...

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