History, economy and politics: macro and micro-level factors in recent salvadorean migration to the us

Cecilia Menjívar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Through an analysis at the macro and micro levels, this study argues that the root cause of Salvadorean migration during the 1980s has been an interplay between economic and political factors. The analysis of this proposition at the macro level includes an examination of key political decisions that intertwined with economic policies in Salvadorean history leading to the events within which massive Salvadorean emigration unfolded. Evaluation at the individual level is based on data gathered through field work conducted in California from 1989 to 1992. These sources of data include a survey of 150 Salvadorean men and women of whom 40 were selected for intensive interviews. The main conclusion of this study is that the conjecture of the political and the economic, at the macro and micro levels, shapes the motivation to leave, making it analytically difficult to separate the two. Furthermore, certain conditioning socio-demographic characteristics, such as education, gender, and age, interact in specific ways with broader forces in the politico-economic framework to affect individual desires and motives. A recommendation for future work on this problem is to include the voices and experiences of those who participate in refugee migrations, in order to make more accurate statements about the effects of broader forces on the lives of these migrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-371
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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