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The Development Impact of a Best Practice Seasonal Worker Policy

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  • John Gibson

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

  • David McKenzie

    ()
    (World Bank, BREAD, CReAM and IZA)

Abstract

Seasonal migration programs are widely used around the world, and are increasingly seen as offering a potential "triple-win"- benefiting the migrant, sending country, and receiving country. Yet there is a dearth of rigorous evidence as to their development impact, and concerns about whether the time periods involved are too short to realize much in the way of benefits, and whether poorer, less skilled households actually get to participate in such programs. We study the development impacts of a recently introduced seasonal worker program which has been deemed to be "best practice". New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) program was launched in 2007 with an explicit focus on development in the Pacific alongside the aim of benefiting employers at home. A multi-year prospective evaluation allows us to measure the impact of participation in this program on households and communities in Tonga and Vanuatu. Using a matched difference-in-differences analysis based on detailed surveys fielded before, during, and after participation, we find that the RSE has indeed had largely positive development impacts. It has increased income and consumption of households, allowed households to purchase more durable goods, increased subjective standard of living, and had additional benefits at the community level. It also increased child schooling in Tonga. This should rank it among the most effective development policies evaluated to date. The policy was designed as a best practice example based on lessons elsewhere, and now should serve as a model for other countries to follow.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 1029.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1029

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Keywords: Seasonal migration; Matched Difference-in-Differences;

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References

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  1. David McKenzie & Pilar Garcia Martinez & L. Alan Winters, 2008. "Who is Coming from Vanuatu to New Zealand under the New Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Program?," Working Papers in Economics, University of Waikato, Department of Economics 08/09, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  2. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 2301, The World Bank.
  3. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597, August.
  4. Clemens, Michael A. & Montenegro, Claudio E. & Pritchett, Lant, 2009. "The Place Premium: Wage Differences for Identical Workers Across the US Border," Scholarly Articles, Harvard Kennedy School of Government 4412631, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2004. "Dealing with Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects," Working Papers, University of Miami, Department of Economics 0716, University of Miami, Department of Economics, revised 12 Jun 2007.
  6. Martin RUHS, 2006. "The potential of temporary migration programmes in future international migration policy," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, International Labour Organization, vol. 145(1-2), pages 7-36, 03.
  7. David McKenzie & Steven Stillman & John Gibson, 2010. "How Important is Selection? Experimental VS. Non‐Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
  8. Dehejia, Rajeev, 2005. "Practical propensity score matching: a reply to Smith and Todd," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 355-364.
  9. David S. Lee, 2009. "Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1071-1102.
  10. Macours, Karen & Vakis, Renos, 2010. "Seasonal Migration and Early Childhood Development," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 857-869, June.
  11. L. Alan Winters & Terrie L. Walmsley & Zhen Kun Wang & Roman Grynberg, 2003. "Liberalising Temporary Movement of Natural Persons: An Agenda for the Development Round," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(8), pages 1137-1161, 08.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Catia Batista & Tara McIndoe- Calder & Pedro C. Vicente, 2014. "Return Migration, Self-Selection and Entrepreneurship in Mozambique," CReAM Discussion Paper Series, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London 1417, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. Manjula Luthria, 2011. "Labor Mobility for the Poor : Is it Really Possible?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10112, The World Bank.
  3. Mevlude Akbulut Yuksel & Mutlu Yuksel, 2013. "The Long-Term Direct and External Effects of Jewish Expulsions in Nazi Germany," HiCN Working Papers, Households in Conflict Network 154, Households in Conflict Network.
  4. Gharad Bryan & Shyamal Chowdhury & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, 2014. "Under-investment in a Profitable Technology: The Case of Seasonal Migration in Bangladesh," NBER Working Papers 20172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bryan, Gharad & Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2012. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8739, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kudo, Yuya, 2012. "Returns to migration : the role of educational attainment in rural Tanzania," IDE Discussion Papers, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO) 322, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  7. Siegel, Melissa & Waidler, Jennifer, 2012. "Migration and multi-dimensional poverty in Moldovan communities," MERIT Working Papers, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) 077, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  8. Slobodan Djajic, 2014. "Guest-Worker Programs," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(2), pages 16-19, 07.
  9. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, . "Development Impacts of Seasonal and Temporary Migration: A Review of Evidence from the Pacific and Southeast Asia," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University 201412, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  10. Michael Clemens and David McKenzie, 2014. "Why Don't Remittances Appear to Affect Growth? - Working Paper 366," Working Papers, Center for Global Development 366, Center for Global Development.

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