Welcome to the home page of SUZANNE MODEL, Professor Emerita in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Although I retired in 2008, I continue to do research on immigration. I am especially interested in why people emigrate, the consequences of choosing one destination over another, and why some immigrants return home. In exploring these questions, I focus primarily on people from Taiwan and from the Caribbean. I gather infomation by conducting personal interviews and analyzing large data sets like censuses and surveys.  


(with links to the text of some papers)


1. Emigration and Return

One issue to which I am currently devoting time is "the selectivity of migration"; that is, the ways in which three sets of individuals differ: never migrants, emigrants living abroad, and former immigrants who have returned home. The consequences of "brain drain" are one of the more practical implications of this phenomenon.

In early 2010, funded by a Fulbright Grant, I spent several months at Academia Sinica in Taipei studying these issues. I obtained life histories from Taiwanese who never emigrated and from emigrants who returned to the Island from America. I also spoke with key informants like government officials, educators and emigration agents. In addition, with the help of Dr. Ji-Ping Lin, I obtained access to a panel study of Taiwanese in America sponsored by the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission.

In the summer of 2010, I returned to the US and began obtaining life histories of Taiwanese in America, an undertaking in which I am still engaged. I am also analyzing the data in the OCAC panel study; it explores why participants left Taiwan, how they are adjusting to American life, and whether they are considering a return to their homeland.

2. Destination Effects

I would like better to understand the consequences of settling in one country versus another. To pursue this question, I have a contract with Routledge press for a book series: Routledge Studies of Diasporic Peoples. Each volume in the series will compare the integration of an immigrant group across several destinations. At minimum, the series is projected to include volumes that examine West Indian Blacks, Sub-Saharan Africans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Turks, and Asian Indians. If you are interested in contributing a volume to the series, please contact me at model@soc.umass.edu

Thus, another project I am now working on is authoring the first volume, The West Indian Diaspora. This book examines the integration of immigrants from the English, Dutch and French-speaking West Indies in the US, UK, Canada, France and the Netherlands. The central finding is that integration does not proceed evenly within these destinations. Some receiving countries provide better contexts for political integration; others provide better contexts for spatial integration. The explanations for these differences can be found in the history and culture of these five countries.