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Social learning along international migrant networks

Tian, Yuan; Caballero, Maria Esther; Kovak, Brian K.

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Yuan Tian

Maria Esther Caballero

Brian K. Kovak


We document the transmission of social distancing practices from the United States to Mexico along migrant networks during the early 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Using data on pre-existing migrant connections between Mexican and U.S. locations and mobile-phone tracking data revealing social distancing behavior, we find larger declines in mobility in Mexican regions whose emigrants live in U.S. locations with stronger social distancing practices. We document the absence of confounding pre-trends and use a variety of controls to rule out the potential influence of disease transmission, migrant sorting between similar locations, and remittances. Given this evidence, we conclude that our findings represent the effect of information transmission between Mexican migrants living in the U.S. and residents of their home locations in Mexico. Our results demonstrate the importance of personal connections when policymakers seek to change fundamental social behaviors.


Tian, Y., Caballero, M. E., & Kovak, B. K. (2022). Social learning along international migrant networks. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 195, 103-121.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 19, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 19, 2022
Publication Date Mar 1, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 14, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 17, 2023
Journal Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Print ISSN 0167-2681
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 195
Pages 103-121
Keywords Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management; Economics and Econometrics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Social learning along international migrant networks; Journal Title: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V.


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