Publications

2019
Hagan, Jacqueline, and Joshua Wassink. “Return Migration and Social Mobility in Mexico”. Current History (2019). Web. Publisher's Version 2019_haganwassink_ch.pdf
Perreira, Krista M., Joshua Wassink, and Kathleen Mullan Harris. “Beyond Race/Ethnicity: Skin Color, Gender, and the Health of Young Adults in the United States”. Population Research and Policy Review (2019). Print.Abstract
Researchers typically identify health disparities using self-reported race/ethnicity, a measure identifying individuals’ social and cultural affiliations. In this study, we use data from Waves 1, 3, and 4 of Add Health to examine health disparities by interviewer-ascribed skin color, a measure capturing the perceptions of race/ethnicity ascribed to individuals by others. Individuals with darker-skin tones may face greater exposure to serious stressors such as perceived discrimination, poverty, and economic hardship which can accumulate over the lifecourse and increase the likelihood of poor health. We found significant gradients in Body Mass Index (BMI), obesity, self-reported health, and depressive symptoms by interviewer-ascribed skin color but results differed by gender. Associations of BMI, obesity, and fair/poor health among women were only partially mediated by discrimination, self-reported stress, or low socioeconomic status and persisted after controlling for race/ethnicity. Among men, initial associations between skin color and both fair/poor health and depressive symptoms did not persist after controlling for race/ethnicity. This study demonstrates the value of considering stratification by skin color and gender in conjunction with race/ethnicity.
2018_perreirawassinkharris_prpr.pdf
Hagan, Jacqueline, Joshua Wassink, and Brianna Castro. “A Longitudinal Study of Forced Return Migration and Labor Market Reintegration in Mexico”. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2019). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The rise in U.S. deportations has resulted in a growing number of studies focused on the reintegration experiences of these migrants in their home communities. Based on interviews with deportees shortly after their arrival home, these studies paint a picture of economic gloom, finding that deportees are too frequently stigmatised by governments and employers and consequently unemployed or working on the margins of their home economies. In contrast, our longitudinal and comparative study, which draws on the findings of 93 deported and voluntary migrants in Leon, Mexico, finds convergence in the labour market trajectories and social mobility outcomes of deportees and nondeportees, which reduces initial labour market disparities over time. We found that deportation can stymie migrants’ initial labour market re-entry, often relegating former migrants to undesirable jobs in the informal labour market, while they refamiliarise themselves with their local labour markets and identify promising opportunities. Yet, in the long run, successful reintegration depends primarily on the acquisition and mobilisation of human and financial capital across the migratory circuit.
2018_haganwassinkcastro_jems.pdf
2018
Wassink, Joshua. “Uninsured migrants: Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care among Mexican Return Migrants”. Demographic Research (2018). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
BACKGROUND
Despite an expansive body of research on health and access to medical care among Mexican immigrants in the United States, research on return migrants focuses primarily on their labor market mobility and contributions to local development.

OBJECTIVE
Motivated by recent scholarship that documents poor mental and physical health among Mexican return migrants, this study investigates return migrants’ health insurance coverage and access to medical care.

METHODS
I use descriptive and multivariate techniques to analyze data from the 2009 and 2014 rounds of Mexico’s National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID, combined n=632,678).

RESULTS
Analyses reveal a large and persistent gap between recent return migrants and nonmigrants, despite rising overall health coverage in Mexico. Multivariate analyses suggest that unemployment among recent arrivals contributes to their lack of insurance. Relative to nonmigrants, recently returned migrants rely disproportionately on private clinics, pharmacies, self-medication, or have no regular source of care. Mediation analysis suggests that returnees’ high rate of uninsurance contributes to their inadequate access to care.

CONCLUSION
This study reveals limited access to medical care among the growing population of Mexican return migrants, highlighting the need for targeted policies to facilitate successful reintegration and ensure access to vital resources, such as health care.
2018_wassink_dr.pdf
Wassink, Joshua. “Is Local Social Development Associated with Workforce Composition? A Municipal Analysis of Mexico, 1990-2015”. Population Research and Policy Review (2018). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A critical development goal involves reducing subsistence farming and encouraging entrepreneurship and formal sector employment. A growing number of studies examine cross-national variation in the rates of subsistence farming, marginal self-employment, formal employment, and prosperous entrepreneurship by level of development. However, despite significant regional disparities in development within most low-to-middle-income countries, little is known about how development at the local level is associated with labor market patterns. Using a pooled cross section containing four waves of data from the Mexican Census (1990–2015), this study investigates the relationship between social development and municipal workforce composition. In the 1980s, Mexico initiated an ambitious and multipronged development agenda intended to reduce extreme regional disparities in educational attainment, housing quality, access to utilities, and poverty. This study measures social development using a multi-dimensional measure that captures educational attainment, housing quality, access to utilities, and poverty. Laborers are separated into employed, own-account workers, and employers, with each category divided into agricultural and non-agricultural. In a second set of analyses, non-agricultural own-account workers are categorized as high and low growth potential and non-agricultural wage workers are separated into informal and formal sector. Results from fixed effects  regression models indicate that local development significantly reduces the rate of own-account agricultural work and increases non-agricultural wage labor and employer self-employment. As less developed areas advance, the largest initial increase in non-agricultural work is in the informal sector. But, in more developed communities, social development increasingly predicts growth in formal sector employment and more selective entry into non-agricultural own-account work. The findings suggest that investment in community-level social development has the potential to reduce subsistence self-employment, encourage formal sector work, and promote entrepreneurship. Yet, the greatest gains occur in communities that already have mid to high levels of social development.
2018_wassink_prpr.pdf
Wassink, Joshua, and Jacqueline Hagan. “A Dynamic Model of Self-Employment and Socioeconomic Mobility among Return Migrants: The Case of Urban Mexico”. Social Forces (2018). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Return migrants engage in high rates of self-employment, which scholars commonly attribute to the accumulation of financial and human capital while working abroad. Central to this scholarship is the assumption that self-employment is positive and leads to upward economic mobility among return migrants. This scholarship is limited, however, because it relies on large surveys and cross-sectional census data that treat self-employment as a single unidimensional status measured at one point in time. To improve conceptualization and measurement of self-employment, we engage three bodies of research that have thus far had little cross-fertilization: the literature on work and self-employment in Latin America, the scholarship on return migration and self-employment, and developments in economic theories of international migration. Drawing on results from the first longitudinal analysis of the labor market trajectories of Mexican return migrants in a large urban area in central Mexico, we identify three types of self-employment—survivalist, temporary, and prosperous. To explain these divergent self-employment pathways, we draw on biographical narratives and identify two sets of mechanisms—human capital formation and life-course stage. Overall, our investigation of self-employment types suggests a complex relationship between international migration experiences and the labor market mobility of return migrants that cannot be understood without taking into consideration migrants’ social and economic circumstances before, during, and after migration. Consequently, our study yields insights into economic theories of international migration and provides direction for future research on return migration and labor market reintegration.
2018_wassinkhagan_sf.pdf
2017
Wassink, Joshua, Krista Perreira, and Kathleen M. Harris. “Beyond Race/Ethnicity: Skin Color and Cardiometabolic Health among Young Adult Blacks and Hispanics in the United States”. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (2017). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We investigated whether darker interviewerascribed skin color is associated with worse cardiometabolic health among young adult Blacks and Hispanics in the United States. Our sample was comprised of 2,128 non-Hispanic Blacks and 1603 Hispanics aged 24-32, who were in high school in the United States in 1994. We used logistic and OLS regression to predict obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiometabolic risk. We tested the interaction between Hispanic immigrant generation and ascribed skin color. Darker ascribed skin color predicted worse cardiometabolic health among both young adult Blacks and Hispanics. Among Hispanics, the associations were strongest among third and higher generation respondents. Our findings suggest that among US Blacks and Hispanics how individuals are perceived by others via their skin color is significantly associated with their health and well-being. Gradients in cardiometabolic health in young adulthood will likely contribute to gradients in cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality later in life.
2017_wassink_etal_joih.pdf
2016
Wassink, Joshua. “Implications of Mexican Health Care Reform on the Health Coverage of Nonmigrants and Returning Migrants”. American Journal of Public Health (2016). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Objectives.
To assess health coverage among Mexicans with US migration experience, before and after the implementation of Mexico’s universal health care program, Seguro Popular.

Methods.
I used data from the 2000 and 2010 Mexican Censuses to generate nationally representative estimates of health coverage among working-age Mexicans by migrant status.

Results.
In 2000, before the implementation of Seguro Popular, 56%ofMexicans aged 15 to 60 years with no recent US migrations were uninsured compared with 80% of recently returned migrants. By 2010, the proportion uninsured declined from 56% to 35%(–38%) among nonmigrants and from 80% to 54% (–33%) among return migrants.

Conclusions.
Seguro Popular has increased health coverage among Mexican return migrants, but they remain substantially underinsured. A creative and multifaceted approach likely will be needed to address Mexican immigrants’ health care needs.

2016_wassink_ajph_healthcare.pdf
Hagan, Jacqueline, and Joshua Wassink. “New Skills, New Jobs: Return Migration, Skill Transfers, and Business Formation in Mexico”. Social Problems (2016). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Numerous studies have documented a high propensity for self-employment and business formation among return migrants relative to non-migrants. The literature points to the importance of remitted savings, migration duration, and number and types of jobs abroad for business formation upon return. Implicit in this scholarship is the assumption that migrants acquire not only financial capital, but also human capital, which expands their opportunities upon return. Empirical work has demonstrated how the transfer of formal human capital, such as language skills and professional credentials, influences the mobility pathways of professional return migrants. More recent research has also found that the transfer of informal human capital, such as social and technical skills learned on the job, shape the mobility pathways of return migrants with little schooling. Absent from this scholarship, however, are studies that directly test the relationship between the transfer of informal human capital and the odds of business formation among return migrants. In this article, we address this gap. Using a multidimensional skills variable, which includes social, technical, and English language competences, we measure and test the relationship between skill acquisition and transfer and business formation among return migrants. Drawing on findings from a survey of 200 return migrants and 200 non-migrants in Mexico, we show that return migrants who successfully acquire and transfer new skills across the migratory circuit often leverage their new knowledge to launch businesses. Our findings have wide implications for how social scientists conceptualize and measure human capital formation across the migratory circuit.
2016_haganwassink_socpro.pdf