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Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico Author(s): Kenneth D. Roberts Source: Population and Development Review, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Jun., 1982), pp. 299-322 Published by: Population Council Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1972988 Accessed: 05/10/2010 16:01 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=popcouncil. 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The originalresearch objective was considerably narrower, on focusing the"push factors" causingillegalmigration theUnitedStates.However,it soon be- to came apparent restricting analysis US migration that the to wouldmakeit im- possibleto distinguish amongfactors of thatcause members households to workoff-farm general,and thosethatcondition in thiswage labor to take variousforms, such as local labor, circular permanent or migration within to Mexico, or migration theUnitedStates. At its broadest level, thisis a studyof therelationship between rural as development labormobility. as tempting itis tofocusentirely and Yet, upon thetheoretical issuesinvolved, especially thoseraisedby theemerging litera- on ture circulation on peasant and household decision-making, study this will keep theissue of undocumented migration plainlyin sight.Its conclusions, whichchallenge assumption an inverse the of relationshipbetween ruraleco- nomic and development undocumented migration, haveimportant implications of fortheeffectiveness development in programs slowingthelong-term out- flowofrural of migrants forthesuitability a guest-worker and as program an "interim" solution thecurrent to of situation insufficient opportunities job in Mexico and highlevels of illegalmigration theUnitedStates. to Migration and rural development Muchoftheliterature therelationship economic on of and development migra- tion in less-developed countries traceits lineage to the dual-economy can is of modelofLewis (1954). In hismodeltheeconomy composed twosectors: ruralagricultural urban and industrial. Thereis surpluslaborin theagricultural sector,and theurbanwage is set at a fixedpremium above thelevel of rural POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 8, NO. 2 (JUNE 1982) 299 300 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico subsistence. is Capitalaccumulation thedriving of force themodel,providing increasing of numbers jobs that attract ruralmigrants. Rural-to-urban migration continues until is in there no longer laborsurplus thecountryside, rural a and and urban wages are equal. These assumptions echoed in numerous are characterizations the of causes of Mexicanmigration theUnitedStates.Thus,Reubensasserts to that undocumented immigration a resultof "economicdualism,in whichthe is expanding modemsectors existside by side withlaggingtraditional sectors [andin which] surplus workers accumulating thehinterlands agricul- are in of ture,industry, services"(1978:15).According thiswidelyheld view- and to point, circular migration theUnitedStatesrepresents interim to an strategy to cope with lagging opportunities rural urban job in and areasof Mexico. There is theoretical in support thisrole of circulation the model of Zelinsky for (1971),which positsa seriesof migration stagesin which is circulation gradu- allyreplaced permanent by migration urbanopportunities as expand. Further development thedual-economy of modelspecified rural the con- ditions that define and underdevelopment cause migration: lack of land and a capitaland the use of traditional of techniques production, resulting low in agricultural yields; rapid population growth in resulting a low marginal product oflabor;resistance economically by insecure farmers newagricultural to tech- nology newcropvarieties. important and An of implication this theory that is if can agriculture be mademore productive, tideofmigration thecitieswill the to be slowed.Programs rural of agricultural in development the1960sand 1970s, the promoting adoption a mixof newgrain of and varieties thegreater of use purchased inputs, often the claimed reduction migration one ofthepoten- of as tialbenefits. And,mostsignificantly thenarrower for of subject thisstudy, the dual-economy modelimpliesthat processof illegalmigration the from rural Mexico to theUnitedStateswill notabateuntilMexico developsits agricul- turalareasorprovides jobs inthecitiesin numbers adequate compensate to for thelack of rural development (Cornelius, 1977). Severalrecent studies havechallenged empirical the of validity thisthe- oryformany less-developed The countries. identification therural of popula- tion with agricultural labor has been found to provide an incomplete description economic of in activity therural areas.A study off-farm of employ- in ment rural areasof 15 developing countries found that 20-30 percent the of labor forcewas engagedprimarily nonfarm in employment (Anderson and Leiserson, 1980). Beals, on thebasis ofhis research peasants Oaxaca, a on in poorandpredominantly state Mexico,concluded rural in that is "farming nei- thertheir primary nor occupation is ittheir mainsource income.Thewaysof of a making livingare numerous varied"(1975:15). and Employment off one's own land (called "off-farm employment" this throughout study) mayinvolveagricultural wage laboror other typesof workin thelocal area, commuting nearby to towns,or circular migration be- tweenregions.Whilepatterns maydiffer greatly betweencountries be- and tweenregions within same country, the manyrural areas exhibit whatWhite (1976) has termed"extreme occupational multiplicity." Goldsteinhas ob- Kenneth D. Roberts 301 served,"Whatevidently variesfrom country country notthevariety to is of forms movement of reliedupon,butrather particular of alternatives the mix and the exact conditions underwhichone or the otheris reliedupon more heavily"(1978:55). Nor does agricultural "development" necessarily result reducedmi- in gration even reducedoff-farm or employment, as impliedin the traditional In theory. many instances, varieties seedsand newtechniques new of adopted in less-developed countries during 1960snotonlydecreased the laborrequire- ments also lowered but incomesforcertain strata farmers forlandless of and laborers (Hewitt Alcantara, de 1976). The new technology a requires higher levelofpurchased inputs givesthefarmer latitude and less with to respect the timing amounts laborand machinery and of A inputs. newcropping pattern or technology might have potential increasing for incomeand employment but, within particular a socioeconomic context,couldcausegreater concentration of landbecauseof theinability smallfarmers afford necessary of to the level of purchased inputs to assumehigher and levelsofrisk.Seasonalconcentration of laborinputs the new varieties for mightcause labor-supply bottlenecks and stimulate compensating changes cropping in and patterns increased mechaniza- tion. These findings imply thatcircular does migration notnecessarily repre- senta transitional phasebetween agricultural traditional and employment per- manentmigration froma region. In contrast the portrayal circular to of migration to of as corresponding a period declining agriculturalproduction per worker, although decline a is that notsevere to enough causepermanent migra- tionfrom agriculture, wouldappearthat it agriculturaldevelopment even may stimulate circularmigration. Circulation provide meansto earnmoney may a to meetthe higher level of cash requirements agricultural of production, to offset risksaccompanying the decreased of production the subsistence crop, andto compensate thedeclinein demand local agricultural for for wage labor. Circular migration allows thepeasantproducer maintain to primary residence in therural area and to obtainincomefrom bothfarm and nonfarm sources. Circularmigration therefore may providehigher incomeat less riskthan either farm or production permanent migration and Stretton, (Fan 1980). Thisprelim- inaryassessment an expanded of roleforcircular migration within less-devel- oped countries supported recentresearch.Chapman and Prothero is by summarize literature follows:"Circulation, this as rather thanbeingtransi- is and tional ephemeral, a time-honored enduring or modeofbehavior, deeply in rooted a great variety cultures foundat all stagesof socioeconomic of and change" (1977:5). This articleconsiders of thesechallenges the acceptedtheory eco- to and in nomicdevelopment migration greater the detail,within context anof analysis patterns farm off-farm of of and employment and and permanent cir- cularmigration fourruralareas of Mexico. The nextsectiondetailsthe in of nature agriculturalproduction each ofthefour in surveyareas,includingthe cropsgrown marketed, use ofpurchased and the improved inputs, techniques, and household hired labor,and thelevelsof farm income.The following sec- 302 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility In Rural Mexico tionexamines allocation household the of labortooff-farm activities, including circular permanent and and migration, therole thatthecharacteristics the of regional agrarianstructure in this play allocation. lastsection The derives some generalconclusions the concerning relationships in observed thefour zones. Production, income, and employment in agriculture Thisstudy basedon farm is data in survey collected theMixteca Baja, Oaxaca; Las Huastecas,San Luis Potosi;Valsequillo, Puebla, and theBajio, Guana- juato (see map). The foursurveys in wereconducted 1974,covering year the Location of the four survey areas NUEVO ZACATECAS LEON TAMAULIPAS UASTECAE AS 0 |)JA L j ; NX C Kenneth D. Roberts 303 1973,thefirst three theCentro Investigaciones by de Agrarias thelastby and theauthor collaboration in withseveralMexicanagencies.The emphasis of each survey on farm was structure it affected as farm off-farm and labor,with thetopicofmigration treated of secondarily thecontext off-farm in labor.The unitof analysis was thefarm household, all including members wholive with thehousehold head,work thefamily on or farm, contribute money thefarm to household. The totalsampleconsisted 482 farm of households.' Table1 summarizes majoragricultural the characteristics thefour of sur- veyareas.Together, spanthemajorforms agriculture they of in found Mexico (themajor omission of beinganyexample thehighly mechanized agricultureof theirrigated areasof theNorthwest). almost By of anymeasure development, the MixtecaBaja, locatedin the mountainous coastal regionof the stateof Oaxaca, occupiesthelowerend of thesocioeconomic The spectrum. area has no largetowns,and transportation within regionand to other the regions is severely limited poor roads. Thereare few local opportunities non- by for agriculturallabor,andfarm techniques remain as substantially they werein the pre-Conquest end period.The Bajio occupiestheother ofthespectrum, having undergone significant in modernization the1960sandrapidgrowth agricultural oftheurban areasandinfrastructure the1970s.A variety commercial during of crops,relying heavily fertilizer other on and purchased inputs, now dominate in agriculture thisregion. Anynotion a linear of progression from to traditional commercial agri- culturethat maybe implied thecontrast in between MixtecaBaja and the the Bajio breaks downwhenthecharacteristics theother regions exam- of two are ined. Las Huastecasexhibits manyaspectsof traditional agriculture, re- with lianceon family laborand traditional but inputs, subsistence cropsare mixed withcommercial crops,and farm incomes relatively are high.Valsequillo, by is contrast, closelylinked and with commercial semiurban the economy theof Pueblaarea, and agriculture partially is mechanized. However,farm incomes are low formosthouseholds, corn,theprimary and subsistence cropin Mex- ico, dominates cropping the pattern. The Mixteca Baja, Oaxaca The MixtecaBaja is representative agricultural of in patterns thepoorest and mostisolated regions Mexico. The onlytwotowns thesurvey of in area,Jam- iltepecand Pinotepa and Nacional,are on thecoastalhighway, transportation even short distancesintothe mountainous is interior extremely limited.The Centro Investigaciones de Agrarias estimated 23 percent thepopula- has that of tionin thesurveyareais notlinked themajor to population centers a roadof by anykind(Barbosa-Ramirez, 1976). Thereare three distinctpopulationgroups in theregion-Blacks and Mestizosare foundin thenarrow coastalregion, whileindigenous groups predominate theinterior. in Forty-one of percent the population theregion of speaksan Indianlanguage. Agriculture practiced smallmountain is in valleysand on thehillsides. Most of thefarming under ejido system, whichland belongscollec- is the in tively themembers theejidal community cannot to of and (withcertainexcep- 0 'C0 O)r ) - 000r 4C O cUO - -uC N 00cNe (Z O)', 04 O 0O-w r 0 - r i -~N0 o 0o k n 0 f 0 r -0 'I k) 0 V)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~0 m~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 01~~~~~~~~~~~~~ M 00~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~0 00 a ON~-0O~C) V)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~0 0~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~. w 00~~~~~~~~~~~~ .C O3 en ieio n -4 0~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~. GJ 0 L ' 4-cm 00 ~~0e~0~-~~ ~ 00-~o-O~~ rIOCQOOr- t .C '~~~~~~~~~~ -1o0r-~-- (--O~r-- ~ -I -~~~~~~~~~~~~~e r- - et ONel\0 >~~~~~~~~~ In 0~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~t 0 e (ACA ~~~~~~~~~) ~ ~ ~ ~ 0 0 00 0 R )0) n - 'S .0 ICet L 2 ~t 0)0) 0 c o S.10 C) 4 C - 0~~~~r - 00 .-U r CZ 0 'S- 0 C-C Q. 40).0 0) 0$.. r- , 0 O0C~C 0 .0 C to .C,.,C"s .C,., 0C. 0CO3 OO I-. ~~~~ ~~~~~: 00 Uzc 00~~~~~~ cl-U Kenneth D. Roberts 305 tions)be sold or rented. mostejidos in Mexico, the land is dividedinto In individual plotsthat farmed are yearafter yearby thesamehousehold. this In tropical region,however,the slash-and-bum technique and heavy rainfall quickly exhaust thin the mountain soils, and landmust leftbe fallowforup to tenyearsafter onlyone or two years'harvest. Therefore, each ejidatariois assigned newplotoflandto work a each year,with plotsize varying from 1.5 to 3 hectares, depending thefamily on the laboravailabletoundertake arduous taskof preparing land forplanting. the The average farm thesampleof67 consisted 2.8 hectares, which in of of 2.2 hectares wereplanted corn, inbeans,0.8 in sesame,and0.3 in other in 0.4 crops(thesumexceeding hectares to intercropping). average 2.8 due The farm marketed only16 percent itsproduce. of The agricultural technology employed theMixtecaBaja is primitive. in Households thezone spent in only75 pesos perhectare year(US $1.00 = per 12.5 pesos at theexchange prevailing thetime)on fertilizer, rate at seeds,and machinery rental.The total valueof agricultural per capital hectare, consisting primarily draft of animalsand implements such as hoes, amounted 907 to pesos. The use ofprimitive in techniques poorlandis reflected thevalue of on production hectare thesurvey-1,234pesos forall cropsand only958 per in pesos forcorn.For comparison, Huastecas Las produced 1,849pesos perhec- tarein corn,and Valsequillo be 2,332 pesos. Whileit might expected that the low valueofcornproduction hectare theMixtecaBaja wouldbe accom- per in paniedbylow monetary expenses, factan averageof 560 pesos perhectare in was spenton wages forhiredlaborand 75 pesos on other purchased inputs, yielding netreturn only323 pesos perhectare theproduction corn. a of in of Low valuesofnetproduction combined with smallsize oftheaverage the plot to produce annualfarm incomesaveraging 2,639 pesos (or $211). just The averagehousehold thesampleworked person-days year in 172 per on their land,representing of two-thirds total household on laborinput and off thefarm.In addition household to of labor,67 percent thefarms hired jor- naleros (day laborers), addingan averageof 68 person-days, bringtotalto farm laborinput 240 person-days. to When thesedataareviewedin light the of fact theaverage that farm is only2.8 hectares, labor-intensive size the nature of agricultural in production thezone is evident. The averagehousehold applied 84 person-days itsownlaborand 37 person-days hired of of labor,resulting in a totallaborinput 118person-days hectare of per cultivated. can be seenin As Table 1, laborintensity cultivation MixtecaBaja farexceedsthat the of in in other zones. In summary, MixtecaBaja conforms the closelyto thecommon percep- tion of underdeveloped, traditional agriculture: subsistence crops produced usingtraditional inputs are and techniques dominant; farmincomesare ex- tremely low; and local employment opportunities are limited. The population oftheregion impoverished: 1970censusshowsthat is the mostof theregion's rural population in one-room live dwellings withdirtfloors, and, despite the 306 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico of presence twotowns over10,000people,only10percent thehouseholds of of have running water(Barbosa-Ramirez, 1976). Yetthesignificant of amount hired laborthesefarms employ does notfit thecommonly held image of traditional two-thirds agriculture; of thefarms used hiredlabor,and forthesefarms, 39 hiredlaborrepresented percent of theirtotalfarm laborinput.Examination monthly of labordata revealsthat even in theslack months relatively a constant proportion farm of laborinput was hired. contrast, By household farm laborinput variedsignificantly sea- by son,andin July exceededtotal it farm for laborinput all other months. Thus,it wouldnotappearthat farm labordemand of exceededthecapacity thehouse- holdlaborforce provide to theseinputs internally. of Examination dataforthe otherareas,andparticularly labordatafor MixtecaBaja, willdemon- wage the strate pivotal the rolethathiredfarm laborplaysin theallocation household of laborbetween farm and off-farm activities. Las Huastecas, San Luis Potosi Las Huastecas,situated theslopesofMexico's eastern on rangeof mountains, is a semitropical in regionthatreceivesadequaterainfall thewinter months, crops permitting to be grown year-round the without needforirrigation. Corn, a usually summer and crop,coffee, sugarcane grown are the throughout year. Together, thesecropsare planted 80 percent thecultivated on of land. Live- stockis also an important agricultural in activity thezone, butit is confined to principally thelargeprivate holdings. de The Centro Investigaciones Agrar- ias limited survey ejidal farms thearea, because it was mainly its to in con- cernedwiththe labor allocationof peasantproducers. withmostejidal As in farming Mexico,eachplotis farmed yearafter yearbythesamehousehold, andas longas itis cultivated the regularly landcanbe passeddowntochildren, not though sold or legallydividedintosmaller plots. Despiteitslocation alongtheold Pan American highway, only350 miles from Texasborder, Huastecasis as removed the Las the from Mexicanmain- stream is theMixteca as in Baja. Thereareno sizabletowns theregion, the and 1970censusshowed 50 that percent thepopulation of spokean Indianlanguage and 81 percent thelaborforce of was in agriculture (Barbosa-Ramirez, 1979). in 2 Mostfarms thesamplewerebetween and 10hectares. a composite If ejidal farm wereto be created the from data, its7.1 hectares wouldhave 2.4 hectares corn,0.8 hectares sugarcane, in in and 1 hectare evenlydividedbe- tween coffee all other and crops.About3 hectares wouldbe left uncultivated, someof which wouldbe in pasture. Thussubsistence cropsoccupytwo-thirds ofthecultivated fortheaverage land household.2 Ninety of percent thehouse- holdsgrewcorn,and only14percent theaverage of household's production of thecropwas sold. Because ofthemuchhigher valueof sugarcane coffee, statistics and the on land use understate importance commercial the of cropsto households in Las Huastecas.Corn,with per production hectare valuedat 1,849pesos, con- tributed onlyone-third thevalue of agricultural of on production theaverage Kenneth D. Roberts 307 farm.Sugarcane produced 9,680 pesos and coffee6,609 pesos per hectare. The higher valueforthecommercial cropsraisedtheaveragevalue ofproduc- tionperhectare 3,273 pesos, farexceeding to that obtained farmers the by of MixtecaBaja. Farmincomeswerecorrespondingly in higher Las Huastecas, averaging 16,816pesos per farm year,and only20 percent thefarms per of generated annualincomesbelow 5,000 pesos.3 Bothhousehold and totalfarm laborinputs Las Huastecaswerethe in highest thefour of zones. The averagehousehold worked person-days 275 on its parceland hiredworkers an additional person-days. significant for 52 A of percentage thishighhousehold laborinputwas contributed household by members other thantheprincipal farmer, and, due to theyear-round cropping pattern,laborinputs werespreadmoreevenlyovertheyearthanin theother zones. Las Huastecasis a moreprosperous agricultural thantheMixteca zone Baja despite fact the thatagriculture practiced both as in zoneswouldbe classi- fiedas traditional, employing purchased few inputs a and devoting relatively large percentage cultivated of land to production home consumption. for in Households Las Huastecaswereable to increase farm income devoting by a largeamount household of laborto high-value, labor-intensivecrops.Sugar- cane required person-days hectare, 149 per whilecornemployed only45 per- son-days hectare. per The former a provided sourceof cash incomewithout requiringmuchmonetary outlay, whilethelatter provided muchofthesubsist- ence consumption the household.The factthatthe value of agricultural of output relatively without was high on reliance themarket hiredfor labor,pur- chasedinputs, foodwillproveespecially or in significant explaining differ- the ences between off-farmhousehold laborallocation Las Huastecasand the in other zones. Valsequillo, Puebla Valsequillo,locatedin thesouthern ofthestate Puebla,is characteristic part of of manyof thedensely populatedruralareas of theCentral Plateau. Table 1 showsthere were560 persons squarekilometer 1970,as compared per in with 39 in Las Huastecasand 26 in theMixtecaBaja. The zone, some 100kilome- tersfrom cityofPuebla,is crossedby highways the from Mexico Cityto the major coastal city of Veracruz,and containstwo medium-sized towns, Tecamachalco Tehuacan, and whichprovide important linkswiththenational economy and a nonagricultural sourceof employment local inhabitants. for The population primarily is Mestizo, and the culture reflects earlySpanish domination. is Agriculture thepredominanteconomic in activity thezone, employing of The landis partially 56 percent thelaborforce. but irrigated, themajority of farmshave onlyenough to water supplement for seasonalrainfall thesummer corncropand cannotengagein multiple cropping. The averagefarm thesampleof 99 farm in unitshad 6.1 hectares; how- of ever,sevenfarms over20 hectares 37 of controlled percent thelandand 56 308 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico of percent thevalue of agricultural and machinery implements. These large farmswereprivately owned;thesmallfarms werebothprivately ownedand ejidal. Corn is the majorcrop: 87 of the 99 households grewcorn,and the averagefarm 87 devoted percent itslandto thetwosubsistence of crops,corn and beans. Whileonlyone-third thecorngrown theaveragefarm of on was sold (Table 1), thehighpercentage marketed the from larger farms meant that almost of three-fourthsall cornproduction marketed. was Thus agriculture in thezone was muchless subsistence oriented thanin thetwoindigenous zones considered earlier; each farm sold a larger of proportion itsproduction, a and fewlargefarms thebulkof their put on production themarket. Agricultural in technology Valsequillo also morecapital-intensive is than in theother twozones. Tractors commonly are used in preparing landfor the planting, the with smaller farms renting tractor services the from larger farms. In thestudy yeartheaveragefarm used 1,185pesos of purchased inputs (in- cludinghiredlabor) per hectare and had agricultural capitalvalued at 1,798 pesos perhectare. The average in value ofproduction hectare Valsequillo, per however, only2,218pesos-less than Las Huastecas was in becauseofthelow value of corn,theprincipal cropin theregion. Farmincomein Valsequilloaveraged21,487 pesos, higher thanin the othertwo zones, but thisfigure heavilyinfluenced the highincomes is by generated a fewlargefarms. on Sixty-four of percent thefarms produced in- comes of less than5,000 pesos, and a sizable number reported expensesex- ceedingthegrossvalue of output. This is especially significant because only monetary expenesewereused in thiscalculation, the excluding imputed value of household labor,landrent, and depreciation. Despitethelarger farm size, total farm laborinputs theaveragefarm on in Valsequillowereonly165 person-days: person-days household 78 of labor and 87 person-days hiredof labor.Whilethelargefarms account muchof for thehighproportion hiredof labor,hired laborwas very to important themajor- of ity agricultural production 83 of units; percent thefarms surveyed usedwage labor,andforthosefarms, proportion hired total the of to farm laboraveraged 53 percent. If laborinputs calculated hectare, differences are per the between Valse- quilloand theother survey areasbecomeevenmoreevident. Totalfarm labor per input hectare Valsequillo in was 37 person-days, thanless in halfthat Las Huastecasand one-third in theMixtecaBaja. Nevertheless, percent that 55 of in thelaborinput cornwas hired laborin Valsequillo, whilehouseholds Las in Huastecashiredonly15 percent thelaborin cornproduction. of Mechaniza- in tion,primarily land preparation, for appearsto have substituted household laborrather thanforhiredlabor. The higher level of integration Valsequillointothemarket of system, requiring heavier ofpurchased use inputs ofhired and labor,does notappearto have increased agricultural incomes themajority households. for of Mosthad farm incomes wellbelowthosein Las Huastecas,a zone oftraditional agricul- ture.What agricultural modernization was accomplished a significant decrease Kenneth D. Roberts 309 in householdfarm thus laborinputs, laboratthedisposalofthehouse- freeing uses. hold foralternative The Baj(o, Guanajuato The Bajio is by farthemosturbanand commercially developedzone of the four surveyed in thisstudy. Mostwidely for known itssilver mines,theBajio has long been one of the most important agricultural areas of Mexico. Throughout Spanishoccupation, the deep, fertile by valleysoils irrigated the Lermariver provided good yields bothsummer winter for and grain crops,and themenandmulesthat in labored themines offered nearby a market. Later,the Bajio becameknown the"breadbasket Mexico" and was themost as of impor- tantwheatregionof thecountry untildisplacedduring 1950sby theirri- the gatedareas of thecoastalnorthwest. thatof Valsequillo,thepopulation Like retains fewtracesof Indianbackground. Most economicactivity thezone is in agriculture, thearea also in but contains strong industrial, commercial, and servicesectors. The cityof Sala- mancais thesiteofan important refinery chemical and complex, whileCelaya is themajor townserving agricultural the of industry theregion. Transportation is excellent, and the survey area is traversed the majorhighway by linking Mexico Cityand Guadalajara.In addition, citiesof Queretaro Leon in the and adjacent are municipios undergoing veryrapidgrowth. Prosperity notbenefited population has the equally.Indeed,themarked and growing of social and economicheterogeneity theregion has been com- mented in severalstudies.4 highdegreeofrural on A stratification,manifested in widedisparities farm in and size, capitalization, farm income,makesaver- ages overall farms meaningless. Whilebothprivately ownedandejidal farms in are included thestudy, whenfarm no size is controlled significant differ- encesemerge between of thesetwoforms landtenure. The datashowthat the maindifferences amongfarms between unirrigated theirrigated are the and farms the and,within latter category, between smallto medium the farms and thelargefarms. in Therefore, on the218 farms thissurvey grouped data are intofour categories farm of typeand size: farms withless than25 percent of their (72 size landirrigated farms); three categories irrigated and of farms, 4.0 hectares less (42 farms); to 12.0hectares farms); over12hectares or 4.1 (84 and (20 farms).While theseproportions not correspond may exactlyto current patterns in of landuse found thesevenmunicipios the comprising study zone, they representative themajortypes agriculture are of of in practiced theBajio. Table 2 presents data on thebasic characteristics farms thefour of in categories. largeirrigated The farms essentially are enterprises, capitalist with an averagevalue of agricultural capitalper farm 357,827 pesos. Seventy of of percent these farms possessa tractor, contrast 26 percent themedium in to of farms veryfewof thesmallor unirrigated and farms. Cropping patterns also differ farm by size. A smaller portion thelandofthelargefarms devoted of is tocornandmoreto wheat two andsorghum, highly mechanized crops.Yet,as shown sorghum, valueofpurchased for the in inputs hectare eachcropdoes per 310 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico notdiffer significantly between irrigated of farms different sizes, an indication of ofthesimilarity thetechnology on employed irrigated land.Tractors, owned are or rented, used in many phasesof agriculture, hybrid and seeds, chemical fertilizer, fungicides, on and pesticidesare used regularly small and large farms alike. If an ejidatariolacks theresources to use necessary properly this technology, rents landout,usually a largeprivate he his to The farmer. portion ofthetotal valueofproduction taken therenter by varies 30 from to80 percent, on that depending theinputs he provides. of The prevalence landrental makes theeffective in degreeof land concentration thezone even higher thansug- on gestedby thestatistics land ownership. Incomesderivedfromlarge and medium-sized irrigated in farms the Bajio werehigh,buteven on thesmallirrigated farms they exceededthosein thenextmostprosperous of zone, Las Huastecas.All but23 percent thefarms in theBajio produced incomesgreater than5,000 pesos. However,theform that income this takesandthemethods it usedto produce arefardifferent from thosein Las Huastecas.Besidescommercial crops,mostcornproduced the in and Bajio is sold, evenby farms theunirrigated smallirrigated in categories. in Farms Las Huastecasmanage generate to relatively levelsofincome high by growing high-value cropswithout spending muchmoneyon laborand other purchased inputs; in a farms theBajio employ capital-intensive technology and have to producegood crop yieldsjust to breakeven on cash expenses.The farmer growing on sorghum wheatis dependent themarket fertilizer, or for machinery, labor;forthesale of crops;and forpurchase mostneces- and of sitiesof household consumption. yearof theinterviews one of ade- The was or quaterainfall, earlyfrosts, fewlosses due to insects cropdiseases. no and But conditions notalwaysso favorable are (cropsin 1976-79 suffered from adverseweather other and factors), even a partial and croploss can mean a largeloss whenthe moneycosts of production high.It is reasonable are to assumethat highfarm the incomes theBajio during in good yearsarerealized at theexpenseof a larger year-to-yearvariability, the although survey datado notpermit of examination thisissue. FIGURE 1 Seasonal pattern of household and hired labor on medium-sized irrigated farms in the Baji*o 40 30 25- 20- 15- 10 5 0 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Hiredlabor m labor Household Kenneth D. Roberts 311 TABLE 2 Basic farm characteristics: the Baj(o Farm category Small Medium Large Unirrigated irrigated irrigated irrigated Characteristics (72 farms) (42 farms) (84 farms) (20 farms) Farmsize (hectares) 17.4 3.4 7.8 55.8 Ejidal farms (percent) 44 74 93 10 Value of agricultural capitala(pesos) $34,542 $21,004 $59,266 $357,827 Value of purchased inputs in per hectare sorghum (pesos)b $862 $1,762 $2,104 $1,115 Land in subsistence crops (percent) 74 30 29 22 Shareof corn marketed (percent) 84 95 87 98 Farmincome(pesos) $6,830 $21,282 $36,682 $319,059 aAgriculturalcapitalincludesthe total value of fixedcapital(pumps,etc.) and the value of animals. bPurchased inputs for includeactualexpenditures fertilizer, seeds, etc., butexcludesmachin- herbicides, and hiredlabor. ery rental TABLE 3 Farm labor: the Baji*o Farm category Small Medium Large Unirrigated irrigated irrigated irrigated Item (72 farms) (42 farms) (84 farms) (20 farms) Householdfarmlabor 116 38 85 33 Hiredfarmlabor 91 43 102 726 Total farmlabor 207 81 187 759 Total labor per hectare 22 26 25 15 Complementing information Table 1, Table 3 presents the in data on laboruse byfarm categories theBajio. Laborinputs hectare in per averaged 22 person-days year,by farthelowestof all thezones studied.Per hectare per laborinput loweston thelargest is farms, which,of course,are theheaviest usersof hiredlabor. These farms less laborper hectare use thanthesmaller farms becausethey growless ofthelabor-intensive corn.On theaverage, crop, sorghum 21 required daysoflaborperhectare, wheat only10days,andcorn38 days. In addition, household farm low laborinputs relatively in all farm are strata, particularly thesmalland largeirrigated but on farms. Hired labor plays a pivotalrole in the labor-allocationdecisionsof households theBajio. Figure1 showstheseasonalpattern in ofhousehold and hiredlaboruse on themedium-sized irrigatedfarms, largest mostrep- the and resentative in category thezone. Thesefarms employ wagelaborin all months, the despite factthat household in laborinputs June exceedtotal laborinputsin all but two othermonths. There are two complementary reasonswhy the 312 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico household mayprefer use hiredlaboreven though could providethese to it inputs First,highhousehold internally. in labor inputs Juneand July corre- spondto theperiodof weeding, activity which an in women and childrenmay contributeequallywithmen;second,household labormaybe regularly em- ployedin off-farm throughout year,a proposition will be activities the that examined thenext in section. hired However, is clearthat it labordoes notplay a purely role compensating inhousehold laborallocation, making thediffer- up ence between seasonalfarm labordemand and household laborsupply. This briefsurvey theagricultural of of situation fourareas in Mexico of emphasizes importance separating potential the two of effects agricultural modernization. Agriculture almostinevitably becomesmorecommercialized; hybrid seeds,fertilizer, machinery substituted moretraditional and are for in- puts and a greater is percentage crop production sold, linking farm of the household muchmorecloselyto themarket economy. Farmincomes mayalso rise,butonlyin regions where access totheimproved and inputs infrastructure suchas irrigation notrestricted thelargefarms. is to of is The separation theseconcepts important because theyhave had differenteffects theallocation household on of laborin thesurvey areas. The relatively commercialization farm high of in production Valsequillo and,espe- cially,in theBajio appears havecauseda reduction farm to in laborinputs and a substitution hired household of for labor.Relianceon purchased inputs and marketed production probably also increasedthe year-to-year variability in farm in income, effect forcing households seek additional to forms income of to offset risk. this At the same time,higher levels of farm incomein theBajio and Las Huastecassubstantially the reduced riskthat household the wouldfailto pro- ducea subsistence levelofincome.Households thesezonescouldengagein in typesof off-farm economicactivity wouldnotbe undertaken more that with limited resources, theconsequences failure household for of for survival would notbe as great.Thesetwocomponents risk-incomevariability therisk of and of falling below thesubsistence level-will be seen to play a central role in the determining relationship between agricultural development household and laborallocation. Off-farm employment, income, and migration Table4 compares farm incomeand laborin thefour and off-farm zones. The Mixteca Baja, Oaxaca Out of the259 person-daysworked theaveragehousehold theMixteca by in Baja, 88 person-days, 34 percent, or income-produc- wereappliedin off-farm ingactivities. off-farm produced income 2,329pesos,bringing This labor an of Kenneth D. Roberts 313 TABLE 4 Off-farm income and labor in the four survey areas Mixteca Baja Las Huastecas Valsequillo The Bajio Item (67 households) (98 households) (99 households) (198 households)a Income(pesos) Farm 2,639 16,816 21,487 22,306 Off-farm 2,329 4,211 12,293 12,257 Total 4,968 21,027 33,780 34,563 Labor (person-days) Farm 171 275 78 86 Off-farm 88 139 253 101 Total 259 414 331 187 Off-farm labordays as jornalero (percent) 72 100 63 23 Averagenumber of adultsper- household (over age 16) 3.1 3.3 3.7 5.4 aExcludes20 households possessinglarge irrigated farms. totalhouseholdincometo the (still verylow) figure 4,968 pesos. Most of in households thesamplewerepoor and earnedclose to theaveragelevel of household incomeforthezone. Thus wage incomeformed criticala supple- ment farm to incomeformosthouseholds; percent all households 69 of en- gagedsomeofthelaborattheir disposalina gainfulactivityotherthanfarming theirown parcelof land. Mostoff-farm laborwas local agriculturalwage la- bor,paying to 20 pesosperday. Seventy-seven 15 of percent theoff-farm labor dayswereemployed the within samemunicipio,a reflection thedifficulty of of in transportationtheregion of and theuniformity wages throughout zone.the As might expected a region be in with limitedincome-earning opportuni- ties,permanent is outmigrationa fairly regular 43 feature: ofthe75 municipios in thelargerMixtecaregion lostpopulation between 1960and 1970(Aguilar, 1974; Butterworth, 1975), largely of due to the migration youngpeople to of Acapulcoor Mexico City.Aboutone-fourth thehouseholds thesamplein had members working outsidethezone at thetimeof theinterview. Perhaps becauseofthis, size household intheMixteca Baja was thesmallest thefour of zones,averaging about5.3 persons, 3.1 with oftheseover16yearsold. There was no circular to migration theUnitedStates,whichis notsurprising given and thegeographic cultural distance the and separating twosocieties thelackof resources finance journey, border to the the and crossing, thenecessary job search.: 314 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico Las Huastecas, San Luis Potost Wagelaborplaysa less significant in Las Huastecas role in than theother three zones. This is not surprising since household farm labor inputand farm in- comesare relatively high.During study the periodoff-farm was 34 per- labor centoftotal household labor,butmuchofthislaborwas in unpaidcommunity servicestillcommon someindigenous in regions Mexico. Few households of worked to off-farm earnmoney, theincomecontributed off-farm and by labor is onlyabout20 percent total of household income.The share off-farm of labor to totallabortendsto be higher households for withgreater numbers adult of workers forhouseholds and withlowerfarm incomes.The number daysof workedin off-farm labor is distributed evenlyover the year,withmonthly in variations totalhousehold labordue almostentirely variations farm to in laborinput. Mostoff-farm is agricultural, 63 percent thisoccursin the labor and of municipioin which household the resides.None ofthehouseholds thesam- in ple had members whohad worked theUnitedStatesduring study in the year, despite proximity thezone to theborder. the of Agricultural wages in thesur- rounding region, 64 pesos perday, exceededlocal agricultural at wages of 31 pesos perday forworkin themunicipio, and households whosemembers en- gagedin work outside municipiotended invest the to moredaysin thisactivity than households did whosemembers worked locally.Thisdifference probably reflects less casual nature regional the of jornalero labor;thehigher costsof travel and job searchare presumably overcome higher by wages and longer periodsof labor.In addition thissalariedlaborby persons to livingwiththe household headatthetime theinterview, households members of 18 had work- ingin another area whohad sentremittances the during year,averaging 2,135 pesos per migrant household. The pattern labor allocation of thatemerges Las Huastecasis thus in heavily weighted toward intensive of on-farm use labor,withless permanent migration more but regional circular and than migration commuting intheMix- tecaBaja. Earning off-farm is income less critical mostofthehouseholds to in Las Huastecas,wherefarm incomesare relatively highand purchased inputs are keptto a minimum. Most households able to earnsufficient to are cash meettheir minimal needsby growing or sugarcane coffee a portion their on of household land. Valsequillo, Puebla Valsequillohas been shownto be a morecommercial zone than agricultural either Huastecasor theMixtecaBaja. But farm Las incomesare low forthe of majority households, whilelevels of purchasedinputsare higher thanin either thetwoindigenous of zones. Thiscreates needforoff-farm the income, and much lowerfarm and laborinputs a higher of proportion hired laborallow households devotethemajority their to of labor.Households timeto off-farm in Valsequillo 76 allocated percent their of work timeto wage laborduring the survey period. Kenneth D. Roberts 315 The largefarms cause theaveragesto understate importance off- the of farm incometo themajority households Valsequillo.For the70 house- of in holds withmorethanone-fourth their of totalincomeearnedoff-farm, farm incomeaveragedonly4,180 pesos, and fourout of fivehouseholds received incomefrom wage labor. Off-farm laborfortheaveragehousehold was dividedbetween agricul- turalwage laborand a wide variety unskilled of employment, including con- struction domestic and labor.Of theaveragehousehold's totalof 253 person- days of off-farm labor,63 percent was employed agriculture. in Workers in nonagricultural occupations worked moredays per yearand earneda higher averageincome, pesos perday,as opposedto 37 pesos perdayforagricul- 48 turallaborers. Onlyabout20 percent off-farm occurred of labor the outside municipio. Households whosemembers worked other in municipiosdid nottend record to moreworking daysthan thosewhosemembers worked entirelywithin mu- the nicipio, possibly the reflecting goodtransportation network,which makeslocal travelcomparatively easy. In addition earning to wage incomelocally,ten households receivedremittances fromtemporary permanent and migrants, averaging 6,966 pesos per migrant. None of thesemigrants workedin the UnitedStates. The Bajlo, Guanajuato Table 5 summarizes off-farm the incomeand labor forthe 218 households in surveyed theBajio. Wageincomewas a significant of portion totalhouse- holdincome all butthelargest for category farms. of Two-thirds thehouse- of holds in the sampleengagedin wage labor,and forthesehouseholdswage TABLE 5 Household income and labor: the Baj(o Farm category Small Medium Large Unirrigated irrigated irrigated irrigated Item (72 farms) (42 farms) (84 farms) (20 farms) Income (pesos) Farm 6,830 21,282 36,082 319,059 Off-farm 9,386 6,879 11,552 20,512 Remittances 1,299 2,136 1,705 Total 17,515 30,297 49,339 339,571 Labor (person-days) Farm 116 38 85 33 Off-farm 100 110 90 132 Total 216 148 175 165 Off-farmlabor days as jornalero (percent) 29 25 15 of Percent jornalero labor workedin Municipio 64 72 60 Mexico, othermunicipios 16 7 UnitedStates 20 28 33 316 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico income was between and44 percent total 26 of were income.Remittances also important thethree to smaller of categories farm, with morethan one-fourth of the householdsin these categoriesreceivingremittances averaging5,936 pesos. Agricultural wage laboris a muchless important of component off-farm laborin theBajio thanin theother zones becauseof thediversified economy. Householdswithlargeirrigated farms recorded highwage incomesbecause theirmembers often heldfull-time positions professionals in commercial as or enterprises. Perhaps moststriking the of characteristichousehold laborintheBajio is itslow absolute amount: household in laborforall categories theBajio aver- aged only183 person-days household, per compared with331 days in Valse- quillo,414 daysin Las Huastecas, and 259 daysin theMixtecaBaja (see Table in 4). Households thetwoindigenous zones worked moreon-farm in the than Bajio, whilethosein Valsequilloworked moreoff-farm. the Certainly higher incomes from farm production theBajio wereinstrumental reducing in in the need forwage income,butthefactthattwo-thirds thehouseholds this of in zone engaged off-farm indicates importance supplementing in labor its in farm income. The seasonality on-farm off-farm revealstheroleplayedby of and labor off-farm laborin totalhousehold labor allocation.If off-farm labor were to vary inversely farm with that labor,thiswouldindicate thehousehold subordi- natedits off-farm laborto farm labordemands.Figure2 showsthat monthly off-farm did notvarymuchforthemedium labor of category irrigated farms, mostrepresentative the averagefarm the sample. Thus of in off-farm labor played an independent role in totalhouseholdlabor allocation;households workeda rather constant of amount timeoff-farm each month, and during months highfarm of laborinputs they to hiredlaborto enablethem continue working theseactivities in (see Figure1). FIGURE 2 Seasonal allocation of household on-farm and off-farm labor for medium-sized irrigated farms in the Baji'o -: 35 30 25 25 20 20 15- -1 10 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec labor Off-farm labor On-farm Kenneth D. Roberts 317 Circular in migration theBajio was morecommon thanin any of the other zones studied. of Data on thelocation household members indicate that about40 percent the622 malesof working livedapart of age the from house- holdhead. Overhalfofthesewerein thesamevillage,buta significant number werealso foundin thelocal citiesof Celaya and Salamanca(7 percent), in MexicoCity(3 percent), in theUnited and States(5 percent). Thesemencould have beenengagedin either or circular permanent but migration, thefactthat a theymaintained relationship withthe household either by sending remit- tancesor helping withfarm the worksupports thesis that theywereprobably absentonlytemporarily. Surveyrespondents were asked to approximate number days the of by worked household as members agricultural in laborers different locations. Table 5 shows thatthe UnitedStateswas the mostfrequent destination for jornalero laboroutside themunicipio of residence. of Table 6 presents data on the differences between households thathad members whohad worked theUnited in Statesand thosethat not,exclud- did ing the largeirrigated farms, whichsentno members the UnitedStates. to Thesetwogroups notsignificantly are different respect themajoreco- with to nomicvariables-farm size, farm income,purchased inputs hectare, per off- farm income,or off-farm labor;however, greatinterest, of households that sentmigrants theUnitedStateshad an averagelaborforce to (malesage 16 or more)thatwas 46 percent larger thanthosethatdid not,a difference is that statistically at significant the.001level. The implication that larger is a house- hold laborforcepermits diversification incomesourcesthatoffsets a of the increased riskof migration theUnitedStates. to Thisanalysis that indicates circular to migration theUnited Stateswould onlybe undertaken households by withmultiplesourcesof income,which would not be too dependent thisriskyincomesourcealone. Moreover, on in households theBajio are larger thanthosein theother zones. TABLE 6 Mean values of selected variables for households with and without members working in the United States: the BajCo Households Households Level of with without significanceof US labor US labor differencein Variable (N = 30)- (N = 168)a mean valuesb Farm size (hectares) 8.4 10.7 .586 Farmincome(pesos) $21,131 $22,515 .936 Value of purchased inputsper hectare (pesos) $1,409 $923 .590 Off-farm income(pesos) $10,138 $9,708 .935 Remittances (pesos) $4,173 $1,198 .001 Off-farm wage labor (person-days) 75 52 .245 Education(years) 9.1 8.7 .810 Male laborforce(persons) 4.1 2.8 .001 aExcludesthe 20 large irrigated farms. of bT-test pooled variance. 318 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico It maybe postulated households theBajfoarelarger that in because farm incomeis higher, more to permitting members sharein theincomefrom farn production.6 incorporation adultmembers theextended The of into household, combined withlow farmlaborrequirements, allows one or morehousehold to members workalmostentirely off-farm. the of Enjoying security theex- tendedhouseholdand a sharein farm production, householdmembers can leave thecommunity longperiodsof time.Totalhousehold for incomeis in- creasedby their and remittances, thelarger extended householdpermittedby higher farm incomeenablesthemto choose theserelatively morerisky off- farmalternatives. contrast, Valsequillo,farmincomesare lowerand By in there fewer are in adultmembers eachhousehold, that failure obtain so the to a job in a moredistantlocationcould have seriousconsequences. Discussion The datapresented thisstudy in cast doubton some of thedistinctions often perceived between traditional modern and agriculture on thecommon and ex- planations rural for outmigration. Households each ofthefour in survey zones worka significant of amount thetimeoff-farm use hiredlaborto permit and them continue engagein off-farm to to economic activitiesevenin months of heavyfarm laborinputs. Thusoff-farm is nota residual absorbs labor that part of the difference betweenhouseholdlabor supplyand farmlabor demand. Rather, household the makessimultaneous decisions concerning allocation the offarm laborbetween household hired and labor,and theallocation house- of holdlaborbetween on-farm off-farm and labor. This conclusion important has implications the validity simpler for of theories relating agricultural development migration. off-farm and If employ- ment does notvaryinversely withhousehold farm employment farm and in- come, this calls into questionthe assumption thata lack of agricultural development triggers increased circular migration, that and circular migration, in turn, leads to permanent as migration urbanopportunities expandand rural opportunities declinerelative thesize of therapidly to growing population. Two potential consequences theconcept agricultural of of development, increased commercialization higher and farm incomes, havebeen shownto be important in factors thedetermination household of laborallocation.Agricul- turalcommercialization, looselydefined the substitution purchased as of in- puts, commercial crops, and marketed for production traditional farming, unequivocably causeda declinein totalfarm has in laborinputs theBajio and Valsequilloand in theportion theseinputs of contributed the household. by However,only wherelocal agricultural conditions favorable, in the are as Bajio, can smallfarms raise farm incomesby participating thisimproved in technology. Agricultural development notinvariably is associated with higher farm income. In Valsequillo, modern technology toproduce fails adequatelev- els ofincome mostfarms servesonlytoreduce for and household laborinputs. In contrast, farm incomes relatively in Las Huastecas are high becausethesoil Kenneth D. Roberts 319 and climate permit high-value cropsto be grown withminimal levels of pur- chasedinputs. Agricultural development, its through potential impact farm on income andthecommercializationagriculture, hasbeenshown havedifferent of also to effects thetypes riskassociated on of with totalhousehold incomeand there- on fore theallocation household of labortodifferent off-farm activities.Higher levelsof purchased inputs for and thesubstitution commercial subsistence of link production thehousehold closelyto themarket economy, increasing the fixedmonetary costs of production thepotential and of variability farmin- come. Higherfarmincomes,on the otherhand, decreasethe riskthatthe household will earnan incomebelow subsistence level. These concepts of maybe used to explainthepatterns household labor allocationobserved the fourzones. In the MixtecaBaja, primitive in tech- niqueson poorsoil yieldinsufficient incomes thebarenecessities a farm for of smallhousehold; withand fewlocal opportunities wage labor,young for peo- ple oftenmigrate to permanently citiesin which of networks migrants from the local area live. Farmincomesare too low to finance riskier the alternative of circularmigration otherareas, especiallyto the United States. In Las to Huastecas, farm production a high yields relatively income few with purchased inputs.The necessity wage laboris reducedby minimal for household cash requirements resulting of fromthe low commercialization agriculture, and heavyinputsof householdlabor leave littleopportunity extended for stays awayfrom farm. the Clearly, farm income playsan important in determin- role ing migratory patterns thesetwo zones of traditional in agriculture. Werethe analysisto stophere,it might concluded be thatrising farm incomeswould decreasemigration. of The patterns household laborallocation observed Valsequilloand in theBajio providelittlesupport thisconclusion. for Both of thesezones are muchmorecommercially developed thanthetwoindigenous zones, yetfarm incomesare low in the former highin the latter. and The monetization of production thesezones has increased in boththerelative of importance off- farm laboranditsdiversification. However, circular migration notan impor- is tantcomponent theoff-farm of labormix in Valsequillo,whilein theBajio circular migration, especially theUnitedStates,is quitecommon. to The function farm of incomein reducing riskof obtaining the below- subsistence income central an explanation thedifferences patterns is to of in of laborallocation between thesetwo zones. Whilehouseholds mustworkoff- farm Valsequilloto earnan adequateincome,they in cannot to afford under- takethesubstantial investment a neededto support circular and migrant therisk thathe will not quicklyobtaina job and send remittances. Therefore, they worklocallyforlongperiodsin a variety occupations. of Householdsin the Bajio use higher levelsoffarm to income support circular migrants, generating moreoff-farm incomeand partially offsetting riskassociatedwiththeir the greater on dependence monetary sourcesof income.The totalportfolio in- of come-producing activities theimportant is consideration; higher farm incomes 320 Agrarian Structure and Labor Mobility in Rural Mexico the permit relatively riskyalternative UnitedStatesmigration, of whilethis activityproduces highcash incomeand mayreducethevariability thetotal of incomeportfolio.7 for are Theseconclusions ofcoursetentative, they based on assump- are tionsabouttherelative of riskiness farm incomeand particular typesof off- farm in employment thefourzones, and on incomplete data on labormigra- tion.Yetthedataon agrarian structure patterns off-farm allocation and of labor indicateclearly the that simplepreconceptions often that guidepolicydo not apply. Circular has migration emerged the Bajio as an integral in partof a complex to response agricultural change, whileother of patterns labormobility in the otherzones resulted fromtheir particular circumstances. orderto In understand response, was necessary specify impact agricultural this it to the of changeupon purchased inputs, crop composition seasonality, and marketed production, hired labor,farm income, household and composition. Whileother of explanations thedata mayproveequallyuseful,it is clearthatno general of theory a mobility can transition be appliedto a region an without examina- tionof its agrarian structure. Notes Thispaperis basedon a report prepared the ing betweenhouseholdand hiredlabor and for US Department Stateand theEmployment householdoff-farm of employment. Migration and Training Administration, Department emerges this US in dataas thelocation off-farm of of Labor, entitledAgrarian Structureand La- employment during year1973,or through the bor Migration in Rural Mexico: The Case of sent remittances by a household member from Circular Migration of UndocumentedWorkers employment elsewhere, allowingcircular mi- to the U.S. The research was a collaborative gration be explicitly to examined. of effort theInstitute LatinAmerican of Stud- I was thedirector theBajfo fieldwork, of ies, The University Texasat Austin, the whichwas a collaborative of and of effort theCentro Centrode Investigaciones Agrarias,Mexico de Investigaciones Agrarias,the Comisi6n City,andbenefited greatlyfrom assistance Coordinadora Sector the del the Agropecuario, In- of GustavoTreviiioElizondo and discussion stituto Nacionalde Investigaciones Agrfcolas, withIna Dinerman. and the Ford Foundation. sample of 218 A in 1 The fieldwork theMixtecaBaja, Oa- farms the seven municipios (a geographic in of xaca; Las Huastecas, Luis Potosf; Val- division governmental San and authoritysimilar a to in sequillo,Pueblawas conducted 1974as part county theUnited in States)ofthesurvey area of a project examining conditions em- was selectedand data collectedon farm the of pro- ployment ruralMexico; the resultswere duction,income, costs, and labor, and on in in published three volumes (BarbosaRamfrez, householdoff-farm employment. The labor 1976, 1977, 1979). They were conducted by data wereexhaustive: the theyincluded num- the Centro de Investigaciones Agrarias,a ber of days worked each household by mem- Mexican organization witha long history of ber,as wellas by hired labor,machinery, and independent research Mexicanagricultural animalson thehousehold on plot,broken down problems. The data utilizedin thisstudyon by crop, month,and type of labor activity thesethreeareas are based on randomsam- (planting, weeding,etc.), and off-farm labor ples, within farm size categories, theorigi- for each householdmember occupation. of by of nal questionnaires landholding of households. The definition thehousehold encompassed Extensive data werecollectedon agricultural all persons living the with household headwho and production agricultural labor,distinguish- contributed incomefrom off-farm sourcesto Kenneth D. Roberts 321 thehousehold workedon the household's the Bajfo as a polarized agricultural or zone; land. Thus migrants, circular permanent, Baring-Gould or (1974) emphasized growing the if werecaptured they either homeand gap between ejido community modern returned the and worked sentremittances. or agriculture; Dfaz-Polanco Montandon and and 2 Subsistence separately saiditis a "zone where cropsaredefined modem relatively agri- foreach zone to accountforregionaldiffer- cultureand a dynamicmoderncommercial encesin consumption habits, themajority sector combined but are with peasantcommunities in each zone consists cornand beans. The at variouslevelsof development" of (1977:9). percent cultivated in subsistence of land crops 5 Arizpe,in herstudy migration of from thatappearsin Table 1 and thetextis thepro- Mexico to theUnitedStates,wrote, rural "in portion cultivated of land in these crops to Oaxaca, Youngdid findthatthepoorestmi- totalcultivated foreach household, land aver- first grated, children, expelling thenas whole aged overall households. maydiffer It from households, practically went but all onlyso far thatcalculatedfrom dataforthecomposite the as Mexico Cityor Oaxaca City" (1981:643). farm by because thelatter influenced farm is size. 6 Dinerman, a studyof US migration in 3 The valueofproduction each cropis fromtwo villages in Michoacan, Mexico, for in derivedconsistently thefoursurvey areas notedthat"migration if tends maintain, not to by multiplying total production the unit by create,a preference a particular for formof priceofthat portion which was sold,orifnone householdorganization, extended the house- was sold,bytheunitpricereceived nearby by hold" (1981:76). in farms similar circumstances.Farmincome 7 A relatively risky asset mayreducethe includes sumof thesevalues forall crops riskof a portfolio assetsby havingits re- the of less their costof production, other turns direct plus uncorrelated thereturns theother with of sourcesof farm incomesuch as sale of dairy assets (Markowitz, 1959). In thissense, US products, eggs, or cattle.Imputedcosts for migration might reducetheriskof thehouse- itemssuch as capital,householdlabor, and hold income portfolio, although the returns landare notincluded. from thisactivity be alone might expected to 4 Barbosa-Ramirez (1973) characterized be quitevariable. References AguilarM., J. Inigo. 1974. "DiferenciaEtnicay migracion la MixtecaBaja." en Cuadernos Trabajo. Instituto de e Nacionalde Antropologia Historia (Septem- ber). Anderson, Dennis, and Mark W. Leiserson.1980. "Rural nonfarm employment in developing Economic countries." and Development Cultural Change 28, no. 2 (January): 227-247. Arizpe,Lourdes.1981. "The ruralexodusin Mexico and Mexicanmigration the to UnitedStates."International MigrationReview15, no. 4 (Winter): 628- 649. de Barbosa-Ramfrez, Rend. 1973. El Bajio. Mexico City:Centro Investigaciones A. 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