The supply of immigrant workers from Mexico is critical to both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors in the United States. Approximately one half of all Mexican immigrants are females who typically are employed in positions that have minimal legal status requirements, e.g., domestic services and clerical and agricultural jobs. In the past two decades, the United States implemented policy reforms motivated in large part by the desire to curtail Mexico-to-U.S. migration. Despite the large female share and differences in the sector of employment of female and male Mexican immigrants, there has been no effort, to our knowledge, to formally test for gender and employment sector differences in the impact of policy shocks on migrant flows. This paper utilizes data from the 2003 Mexico National Rural Household Survey to econometrically test the effects of U.S. immigration and trade reforms on the gender and employment sector-destination of rural Mexico-to-U.S. migrants. Findings indicate that U.S. immigration and trade policies are both gender and employment-sector specific. Female migration is more sensitive than male migration to immigration reforms and other policy shocks. We also find evidence that past migration by females has little effect on male migration, and vice versa.


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