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Alejandro Portes

Alejandro Portes
University of Miami School of Law · School of Law; Department of Sociology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

378
Publications
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Introduction
Born Havana Cuba. Came to Miami as teen for political asylum. Past president of American Sociological Association; Member National Academy of Sciences. Professor Emeritus Princeton University; Currently Distinguished Scholar Arts and Sciences University of Miami Law School and Sociology; Awarded Princess of Asturias Prize in social science 2019. Portes is one of two most cited living sociologists. New publication; Columbia U. Press: Emerging Global Cities: Origins, Structure and Significance

Publications

Publications (378)
Article
Based on Robert Merton’s typology of social deviance and his distinction between manifest and latent functions, this article explores the nature and consequences of deliberately-engineered innovation in the modern world. The substitution of spontaneous scientific and technological innovations by engineered ones through institutions created for that...
Article
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The current study contributes to the continuing debate about the advantages of bilingualism on life chance opportunities by examining whether bilingual children of immigrants achieve more or less in adulthood compared to monolinguals. Using longitudinal data from Spain, we find significant advantages among bilinguals in measures on educational atta...
Article
It has been one hundred years since the death of Max Weber and one hundred and two years since the publication of his classic essay “Science as a vocation”. The author reviews here several of the main ideas advanced in the essay and analyzes, from a Weberian perspective, the rise of national populism, the historical-structural origins of the presen...
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We summarize the history of Latin American urbanization with a focus on the evolution of cities from the colonial and post-colonial eras to the adoption of the import-substitution model of development and its subsequent replacement by a neoliberal adjustment model. Consequences for the urban system of both import-substitution and neoliberal policie...
Article
This article introduces brief statements from a set of presidential panels held at the 2020 meetings of the Eastern Sociological Society, held in Philadelphia February 27‐March 1. The panels were dedicated to honor a group of five prominent figures from our collective past and explore their contributions to the discipline.
Article
Increasing concerns about automation of work raise the question what the demographic components are that promote the spread of technology. What is the relationship between the presence of immigrants and automation? This paper is divided into two parts: an empirical investigation and a historical case study. Empirically, we use data from the Interna...
Article
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The literature on “global cities”, following a publication by Saskia Sassen of a book under the same title, has focused on those prime centers of the capitalist economy that concentrate on command-and-control functions in finance and trade worldwide. New York, London, Tokyo, and sometimes, Frankfurt and Paris are commonly cited as such centers. In...
Article
Alejandro Portes ocupa la cátedra Howard Garrison y Grabiel S. Beck de la Universidad de Princeton (emérito) y es profesor distinguido de la Universidad de Miami. Sus investigaciones más recientes se ocupan de la integración de los inmigrantes de segunda generación, las organizaciones transnacionales de inmigrantes, la urbanización y el desarrollo...
Article
It has been 100 years since the death of Max Weber and 102 years since the publication of his classic essay “Science as a Vocation.” I review here several of the main ideas advanced in the essay. I then seek to apply a Weberian perspective to the analysis of the rise of national populism by considering first the historical‐structural origins of the...
Article
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Impressions to the contrary, the United States continue to be a country of immigration. I review recent statistics showing the size of the present migrant flow and its progressive bifurcation between a high human capital flow coming primarily from Asia and a manual labour flow originating mainly in Latin America. There are parallel splits between p...
Article
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The evolution of the capitalist economy over the centuries has been characterized by the rise of one or a few cities to a position of prominence as centers for coordination of financial commercial activities worldwide. Sassen identified three such “global cities” in the contemporary era: London, New York, and Tokyo. We trace the emergence of those...
Article
There are two principal theoretical schools that seek to explain status outcomes in early adulthood: those focusing on intergenerational transmission of class privilege and those emphasizing individual characteristics, particularly ambition. The first may be called the structuralist school and the second the psycho‐social school, following the Wisc...
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The literature on immigrant entrepreneurship in the advanced countries tends to paint these initiatives in homogeneous colors. A debate lingers as well on the economic returns to self-employment by immigrant and ethnic groups. We present recent data demonstrating again the significant payoff to autonomous enterprise among all ethnic groups, but als...
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This paper presents the results of the final phase of the Longitudinal Study of the Second Generation (ILSEG, in its Spanish acronym) in Spain, which was carried out in three phases between 2006 and 2017 based on surveys of a statistically representative sample of the children of immigrants and the native population. The findings support the theory...
Article
This analysis seeks to establish the key causal determinants of four psycho-social outcomes of children of immigrants — educational aspirations, educational expectations, perceptions of discrimination, and national self-identity — through first-differencing fixed-effects models. Using longitudinal data from the Spanish ILSEG study, we find that bot...
Book
Over the last quarter century, no other city like Miami has rapidly transformed into a global city. The Global Edge charts the social tensions and unexpected consequences of this remarkable process of change. Acting as a follow-up to the highly successful City on the Edge, The Global Edge examines Miami in the context of globalization and scrutiniz...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the complex ethnic mosaic of Miami. The national and ethnic origins of the present population of Miami are too diverse to cover in their entirety, but apart from the most prominent players—Cubans, American Jews, and the remaining Anglos—there are other nationalities and ethnicities that play a significant role, demographicall...
Chapter
This chapter considers the flipside of globalization and economic progress in Miami—urban crime. Crime is not homogeneous; there are several distinct types, each with its own etiology and consequences. Homicide, for example, is related to but emerges from causal configurations different from those leading to property theft or money laundering. The...
Chapter
This chapter explores people's attachment to Miami in order to understand the character of urban life. Attachment to a place has a concrete psychological impact on individuals. It makes them feel comfortable, gives them a sense of security, and facilitates their involvement with the community. How we feel about the place where we live is a fundamen...
Chapter
Of all the major ethnic groups making up metropolitan Miami's population, Cubans have pride of place, not only because of their demographic dominance, but also because they played a pivotal role in the area's economic and social transformation. However, beginning in the 1980s, things took a rather different turn for the Cuban population of the Unit...
Chapter
This chapter considers the problems of traffic congestion and rising sea levels plaguing Miami. Traffic congestion has become the major immediate problem in Miami, and the urgency to alleviate it is heard daily and at all levels of government and citizen groups. The root causes of the problem are sustained population growth and endless high-rise co...
Chapter
This chapter analyzes the dynamics of spatial, demographic, and economic change in metropolitan Miami. It focuses on the strategies of property capital to extract rent from space either by exploiting desirable locations or by creating them where none existed before. Relying on Logan and Molotch's metaphor of the growth machine, it investigates to w...
Chapter
This chapter considers Latin American beliefs and attitudes toward the United States. These beliefs and attitudes are multidimensional. They express tensions, paradoxes, and often ambivalence. Studies have indicated that access to information and personal contact with the United States are vital in shaping people's dispositions because these concre...
Chapter
This chapter traces Miami's economic development. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Miami-Dade County gross regional product in 2012 was $124 billion, having increased from $40.4 billion in 1982 and $50.9 billion in 1992. The motors of the regional economy are wholesale trade, transportation, real estate, finance and insurance,...
Chapter
This introductory chapter first sets out the book's focus, namely the changes in Miami during the last quarter of a century—a period that led to the present social, economic, and political character of the city. The confluence of diverse populations in this single geographic spot continues to produce change without a blueprint, leading to surprisin...
Article
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This article contributes to the study of immigrants' bilingualism and self-identity by focusing on the newer, promising concept of "heritage language bilingualism". Using data from the Longitudinal Study of the Spanish Second Generation, we show that youths who reported limited proficiency in all their languages were less likely to identify with Sp...
Article
Resumen Los pacientes que se someten a cirugía reconstructiva del contorno corporal tras pérdida masiva de peso secundaria a cirugía bariátrica, presentan cambios importantes en la microbiota intestinal, sus propiedades antimicrobianas y en la absorción de nutrientes. Estas alteraciones, sumadas al uso de antibióticos profilácticos para cirugía y a...
Chapter
As of 2000, the Hispanic population of the United States reached 35.3 million (excluding the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico), representing 12.5 percent of the total. Hispanics grew in numbers by 57.9 percent in the last intercensal period, as compared with 13.2 percent for the national population (US Bureau of the Census 2001). Without its Hispanic co...
Article
While agreeing with most points made by our commentators, we focus our reply on three key points of debate on the literature on immigrant transnationalism: first, the relative durability of these initiatives; second, their significance for sending countries and regions; and third their bearing on the relationship between immigration and development...
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This article reviews theoretical perspectives on migration and development, starting with nineteenth-century political economy theories focused on “colonizing” migrations from England and other European powers and concluding with the emerging literature on immigrant transnationalism and its consequences for sending nations. The general concept of e...
Article
This article reviews the evolution of the economic and political relationships between China and Latin America, with particular attention given to the growing power and presence of the People's Republic of China throughout all countries of the continent and the revitalization of Chinese communities and their organizations in response to this presen...
Book
Much like the United States, the countries of Western Europe have experienced massive immigration in the last three decades. Spain, in particular, has been transformed from an immigrant-exporting country to one receiving hundreds of thousands of new immigrants. Today, almost 13 percent of the country's population is foreign-born. Spanish Legacies,...
Chapter
This concluding chapter reviews the effects of the Spanish model of immigrant integration on the adaptation of the second generation, presents the results of a survey of twenty-five leaders of immigrant organizations conducted in Madrid and Barcelona in 2013, and discusses systematically the bearing of empirical findings from the ILSEG surveys on t...
Chapter
In this chapter, we review the recent history of immigration to Spain—from its past as a labor-exporting country to its transformation into a recipient of major foreign flows. Reasons for this transformation are discussed, and data illustrating the evolution of immigration in recent years are examined. Available information on the growth of foreign...
Chapter
We review theories of second-generation adaptation as a prelude for presenting findings from the ILSEG surveys. These theories can be divided into culturalist and structuralist, depending on whether the emphasis is placed on acculturation or socioeconomic mobility in the host society. The role of ambition in promoting positive adaptation outcomes a...
Chapter
Detailed qualitative interviews with a sample of around one hundred children of immigrants who took part as respondents in the Longitudinal Study of the Second Generation (ILSEG) in Spain are the source of this chapter. The research design for the full study is described in chapter 4. For this chapter, we selected twelve stories of young people of...
Chapter
We review the research design of the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS) as a prelude to presenting the methodology of the Longitudinal Study of the Second Generation (ILSEG in its Spanish acronym) in Spain. The sampling strategy, questionnaire design, and instrument administration of ILSEG closely parallel those of CILS and facilitate...
Chapter
This chapter examines educational attainment is our sample of second-generation youths, comparing it to native-parentage students and, subsequently, to results among children of immigrants in the United States, based on CILS data. Staying in school, type of school attended, and average grades are the objective indicators examined. To these, we add...
Chapter
We examine the national origins, legal status, length of residence in the country, educational achievement, present occupational situation, and income of immigrant parents on the basis of ILSEG’s parental survey. Results are compared systematically with those obtained by the Spanish Immigrant National Survey a few years earlier and by the CILS pare...
Chapter
This last empirical chapter focuses on early labor-market entry, types of occupation, hours of work, and income for working respondents. Joining the work force rather than staying in school is not a positive outcome in adolescence. We examine its determinants and the existing differences among nationalities, but we also consider the income levels a...
Chapter
We present empirical findings concerning psycho-social outcomes of the process of adaptation of second-generation youths in Spain and compare them systematically with results from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study in the United States. Outcomes include national self-identification, perceptions of external discrimination, self-esteem, in...
Article
Background and Objectives. Obesity is now considered a pandemic problem. México occupies one of the highest places in the world with adults and children with obesity or overweight. In 2008 multiple Bariatric Surgery Centers were created in the country. Therefore, the massive weight loss reconstruction started to be performed by Plastic Surgery Serv...
Article
This study contributes to the ongoing debate about bilingual advantage and examines whether bilingual immigrant youths fare better, as well as, or worse academically than the matching group of monolinguals. Using data from Spain, where close to half of immigrants speak Spanish as their native language, we found no evidence of costs of bilingualism:...
Article
We review the theoretical and empirical literature leading to the "institutional turn" in the economics of development. Sociologists have welcomed this turn as a vindication of their own ideas, but have overlooked two major shortcomings in the economics literature: First, a failure to define "institutions" rigorously and to distinguish them from th...
Research
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UN, CEPAL, División de Desarrollo Social
Article
This paper summarizes the main theories conventionally associated with the sociology of development as well as the arguments of the principal scholars focused on what “works” to bring about economic development and social progress. This line of argument ushered the rising consensus across the social sciences that the prime causal role belongs to in...
Article
We summarize the history of the Cuban economic enclave of Miami, from its origins to the present. The uniqueness of the story lies not only in the emergence of this phenomenon and its early consequences but also in its bifurcation following the episode of the March boatlift of 1980. We examine the reasons for the split between the earlier waves of...
Book
Whereas most of the literature on migration focuses on individuals and their families, this book studies the organizations created by immigrants to protect themselves in their receiving states. Comparing eighteen of these grassroots organizations formed across the world, from India to Colombia to Vietnam to the Congo, researchers from the United St...
Article
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In their article, Levine et al. (1) test the hypothesis that ethnic homogeneity leads to greater errors in the pricing of stocks because of overreliance in the activities and decisions of coethnics. Excessive trust in others, created by ethnic homogeneity, can thus eventuate in price bubbles negatively affecting not only the traders, but the entire...
Article
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This essay reviews existing theories of professional emigration as background to examine the present situation. Classical theories of the brain drain neglected the possibility that immigrant professionals would return to their home countries and make significant investments and economic contributions there. They do, in fact, with beneficial consequ...
Article
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Revisamos la literatura sobre los determinantes de las autoidentidades etnico-nacionales y de las autoestimas como preludio del examen de estos resultados en una amplia muestra estadisticamente representativa de adolescentes de segunda generacion en Madrid y Barcelona. A pesar de que estos resultados psicosociales resultan maleables, siguen represe...
Article
This article reviews the debate on economic and social consequences of immigrant entrepreneurship as well as theories advanced to explain different levels of selfemployment among immigrant and ethnic minorities. We examine the impact of professional and entrepreneurial migration on sending countries from the viewpoint of traditional theories of the...
Article
Full-text available
The literature on development in economics and sociology has tended to focus on capital flows, investments, and, more recently, institutions as key causal factors. Nor does it consider important developmental synergies produced by the rising interactions between immigrant organizations and sending-country governments. Using data from a recently com...
Book
What leads to national progress? The growing consensus in the social sciences is that neither capital flows, nor the savings rate, nor diffuse values are the key, but that it lies in the quality of a nation's institutions. This book is the first comparative study of how real institutions affect national development. It seeks to examine and deepen t...
Chapter
This introductory chapter provides a background of the concept of “institutions.” Recent years have brought a significant change in the evolution of economics and sociology, including an unexpected convergence in their approach to issues like firms and economic development. This convergence has pivoted around the concept of “institutions,” a famili...
Chapter
This chapter presents the methodology of the book's study. For the purpose of this study, Latin American countries were selected because of their common historical origins and culture and their comparable levels of development. The intent was to see if differences existed between a sample of countries that commonly receive comparable scores in cros...
Chapter
This concluding chapter argues that results of the study support and extend sociological theories concerning determinants of institutional adequacy and developmental capacity. Simultaneously, the findings point to numerous differences among types of organizations and across countries, showing that the institutional landscape of Latin America is nei...
Article
This article examines the dynamics underlying contemporary South-North population displacements and the common gaps between public perceptions of the phenomenon and actual realities. I analyze these dynamics and gaps by focusing on the clash between opposing forces at various stages of the migration process. These tensions occur between actors endo...
Article
The presidency of Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States, is not going to be judged by its symbolic significance and healthcare reform alone. Sociologists, Ho-fung Hung, Fred Block, Alejandro Portes, Beverly J. Silver, and Richard Lachmann assess Obama’s first term from the perspectives of green economy, immigration...
Article
The literature on development in economics and sociology has tended to focus on capital flows, investments, and, more recently, institutions as key causal factors. International migration, when discussed, is relegated to the status of a symptom of underdevelopment and even a factor contributing to it. The more recent literature on migrant remittanc...
Article
This article presents an outline of the relationship between migration and the city in its evolution over time. I sketch the central aspects of this historical relation as a prelude to examining three aspects of the contemporary scene: the various determinants of contemporary labour flows; the political sources of resistance to international migrat...
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On the basis of a study of forty health care delivery institutions in Florida, California, and New Jersey, this paper examines the interaction the immigration and health systems in the USA. We investigate barriers to care encountered by the foreign-born, especially unauthorized immigrants, and the systemic contradictions between demand for their la...
Article
Introduction Patricia Fernandez-Kelly and Alejandro Portes 1. Life on the Edge: Immigrants confront the American health care system Alejandro Portes, Patricia Fernandez-Kelly and Donald Light 2. Categorical inequality, institutional ambivalence, and permanently failing institutions: the case of immigrants and barriers to health care in America Dona...
Article
Este artículo es una revisión de la floreciente bibliografía sobre la diversidad etno-racial y sus supuestos efectos sobre la confianza ciudadana y la cohesión, en el contexto de la evolución del concepto de capital social y de la reivindicación de sus múltiples consecuencias positivas. Presentamos evidencias que cuestionan tal reivindicación y apu...
Article
We review the literature on determinants of ethnic/national self-identities and self-esteem as a prelude to examining these outcomes among a large, statistically representative sample of second generation adolescents in Madrid and Barcelona. While these psycho-social outcomes are malleable, they still represent important dimensions of immigrant ada...
Article
We review the bourgeoning literature on ethno-racial diversity and its alleged effects on public trust and cohesion in the context of the evolution of the concept of social capital and earlier claims about its manifold positive effects. We present evidence that questions such claims and points to the roots of civicness and trust in deep historical...