Sammanfattning av publikation

Weber, 2020 đź”—

Borders and Barriers – Studies on Migration and Integration in the Nordic and Mexico-U.S. settings

Year: 2020

Type of text: Doctoral Thesis

Published by: Stockholm University

Language: English

Author: Rosa Weber

Pages: 77

Available at:

Short description of the text 

“This dissertation analyses the links between migration and integration patterns and migrants’ ties to the home and destination country. It does this in two ultimately distinct settings when it comes to the borders and barriers that migrants face: the Nordic and Mexico-U.S. settings. Until recently, Swedish migration policy was among the most welcoming to migrants from different parts of the world. Migration within the Nordic countries, in particular, is characterised by open borders. By contrast, Mexico and the U.S. are separated by an increasingly militarised border and internal policing of migrants has risen dramatically. Consequently, these settings provide contrasting and interesting examples of the relationship between the policy context and migrants’ experiences.” (p. ii) 

Most important results

  • “Study 1 shows that many moves are temporary and short term in the Nordic setting of free mobility. Still, the threshold to the first move is notably higher than for subsequent moves.”  (p. ii) 
  • “Study 2 reveals that rising deportations of Mexican migrants in the U.S. are associated with a shift from savings brought home to the sending of remittances. Afraid of a sudden arrest or deportation, migrants maintain transnational ties by sending remittances back to Mexico rather than carrying savings across the border.”  (p. ii) 
  • “Study 3 investigates the different roles that social contacts play for male and female migrants’ integration into the Swedish labour market. Whereas friends provide men with benefits in the labour market, women’s job search is often constrained by factors linked to having family in Sweden.”  (p. ii) 
  • “Study 4 shows that the implementation of local level immigration enforcement in the U.S. has a negative impact on district level average educational achievement among Hispanic students. This indicates that integration and resulting ethnic achievement gaps are shaped by increased policing and surveillance of migrants.”  (p. ii-iii)   

“This dissertation reveals a series of complex relationships between migration, integration and policies. Family and kin influence migration decisions also when barriers to movement are low. In the new country, kin can assist migrants’ job search or slow it down when newly arrived migrants are expected to care for them. Policing of migrants makes it more difficult to return and may affect migrants’ abilities to invest in building a new life, as indicated by negative effects for educational outcomes among groups targeted by immigration enforcement. Taken together, these factors shape the experiences and life chances of both migrants and their children in the new country.”  (p. iii)  

Theoretical perspective/framework

“Below [in the chapter “Theoretical Framework”], I present the theoretical perspectives that guide the empirical analyses in the dissertation and position them within the broad framework of transnational migration theory. This theory focuses on ties migrants maintain with their home countries while establishing new ties at the destination (Faist, 2012; Glick Schiller, Basch, & Blanc, 1995; Kivisto, 2001). Transnational migration theory is recurrent in this section, but the discussion is not limited to this perspective and additionally incorporates other relevant theories. The section is organised as follows: I begin by discussing migration behaviour, which is the natural point of departure. I then describe migrants’ transnational ties and finally provide an account of assimilation and integration theories.” (p. 18)


“A variety of quantitative methods are used in the empirical analyses in this dissertation. The research questions are derived from theory and prior empirical research. Empirically testable hypotheses further delimit the analysis. The methods are chosen to assess these hypotheses with the data at hand. The choice of the specific statistical techniques is based on the research question and hypotheses as well as the format, content and availability of the data. Studies 1 and 3 rely on event history analysis as they focus on transition problems (transition into another migration and into the labour market in the respective chapters), while Studies 2 and 4 analyse the impact of increased immigration enforcement by comparing groups that are affected by the rising risk of deportation to groups that are not expected to be affected to the same extent. Although this dissertation focuses on quantitative methods, the chapters incorporate findings from qualitative studies, which inform both the formulation of the research questions and the interpretation of the results.” (p. 34)

Suggestions for further research

“Another concern regarding the generalisability of the findings presented in this dissertation regards the timeframe analysed. The studies that focus on the Nordic setting extend to 2010.17 Still, the period from 2015 and onward came with significant changes in Europe both in terms of migration flows and policies. Going forward, it will be interesting and informative to study how well evidence on the time period before 2015 predicts current migration behaviour and integration in Sweden and Europe more broadly.” (p. 42)

“First, there are laudable reasons for aggregating the U.S. educational data (SEDA) used in this dissertation at the district level and thereby securing anonymity and protecting individuals’ integrity. However, gaining access to individual-level data will be valuable in future research.” (p. 42)

“In future steps, it will be fruitful to exploit existing Finnish and Swedish register data that provide multi-generational linkages in order to develop a better understanding of the role that spouses and families play in the decision to migrate in a setting of free mobility. Furthermore, this will allow us to expand the research body on outcomes, such as the school to job transition, marriage patterns and residential segregation, among the second and third generation (see also Aradhya, 2018; Heath et al., 2008).” (p. 43)

“First, it will be important to incorporate both the home and destination country more prominently in empirical and theoretical research.19 Migration and integration inherently extend beyond the national context. In this way, focusing solely on one country provides only a partial understanding of these dynamics.” (p. 43)

“Second, selection processes in circular migration will need to be studied more thoroughly. Among other things, this will be important for gaining a deeper understanding of long-term integration, which is strongly impacted by selective out-migration (Abramitzky et al., 2014; Lubotsky, 2007).” (p. 43) 

“Third, the intended and unintended consequences of institutions and policies governing migration between the home and destination country should receive more attention in the field and can be important for developing our understanding of the considerable heterogeneity observed in migration and integration experiences across contexts and between migrant groups (see also Drouhot & Nee, 2019).” (p. 43)

Summarized by: Josefine Carlsson