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Social Networks & Migration 1999 - 2004


This research explores interrelationships among migration, contraceptive choice, and social networks using a unique set of social surveys collected in Nang Rong, Thailand.  Using a census approach in villages of origin, complete social network data were collected on multiple relations and at multiple levels of observation (individual, household, and village).  Social network data were collected from out-migrants also, who can be explicitly linked to their households and villages of origin.  The network data in conjunction with prospective panel design that followed up in 1994 and 2000 all households and individuals covered in 1984, make possible a rich array of analyses.  The proposed work is "bridge" work, linking for separate, yet related fields.


The distinctive Nang Rong data permit for the following four specific aims:

1.   All longitudinal data sets lose some panel members in follow-up data collection, and these losses are unlikely to be random.  The first specific aim asks whether household and community position in social networks influence success in finding migrants, traditionally the most difficult to follow.  Investigators examine the influence of social networks at each stage in the follow-up process.

2.   Remittances from migrants to their origin households and villages has long been of interest to the migration field.  Investigators examine whether the migrant's position and the migrant's family's position in social networks affect remittances (whether, composition, amount).  They also ask about migrant support, the flow of money and goods from the place of origin to support the migrant in the place of destination.  Investigators allow for change in the migrant's origin household and examine the flow of  resources between the migrant and all households that might have resulted from the fissuring of the original household.  In preparation for the substantive analyses, they will capitalize on redundancy in the data to see if the giving and receiving parties agree in their reporting.

3.   Building upon work that the population field started in the 1960s, but then suspended, investigators examine the extent to which contraceptive choices are related to position in the household network and the characteristics of that network at the village level.  Earlier work in Nang Rong provided strong indirect evidence for the role of social networks.  Explicit measures of social network variables are now available.  This specific aim meshes will with the work of  others in Kenya, Korea, and elsewhere (including colleagues' work on Adolescent Health) probing the role of networks in the fertility process.

4.   Finally, investigators explore the consequences of migration for social networks, comparing the social position of recent and more established households within rural villages and also examining the effects of gains and losses in household membership.  Among the other benefits of this work is that it will address the exogeneity of social networks in models.

Analytical Methods

Click here to learn about the construction of social networks variables and analyses.

Contributions to the Field

This research merges traditions in the study of social networks, social demography the life course framework, and survey methodology.  It examines the potential of the social network framework, social network data and techniques of analysis to bring fresh insights into social demography, the life course framework,a nd survey methodology.  And conversely, it uses social demography and the life course framework to understand aspects of the determinants of the shape of social networks. 


This project is funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

  Last Modified: 03/31/2008 UNC Carolina Population Center