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Strong versus Weak Ties in Migration

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Author Info

  • Giulietti, Corrado

    ()
    (IZA)

  • Wahba, Jackline

    ()
    (University of Southampton)

  • Zenou, Yves

    ()
    (Stockholm University)

Abstract

This paper studies the role of strong versus weak ties in the rural-to-urban migration decision in China. We first develop a network model that puts forward the different roles of weak and strong ties in helping workers to migrate to the city. We then use a unique longitudinal data that allows us to test our model by focusing on first-time migration. Strong ties are measured by the closest family contact, while weak ties are determined by the fraction of migrants from the village in which the individual resides. We address the endogeneity of the network formation in the migration decision. Our results indicate that both weak and strong ties matter in the migration decision process, although the impact of weak ties is higher than that of strong ties. We also show that one underestimates the effect of social networks on migration by not taking into account the strong ties in the mobility process. We finally find that weak and strong ties act as complements in the migration decision, which indicates that the interactive effect between weak and strong ties is particularly strong above a certain threshold of the size of weak ties.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8089.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8089

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Related research

Keywords: social networks; internal migration; China;

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References

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  1. McKenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Self-selection patterns in Mexico-U.S. migration : the role of migration networks," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4118, The World Bank.
  2. Wahba, Jackline & Zenou, Yves, 2009. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Migration, Entrepreneurship and Social Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 7552, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Wahba, Jackline & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Density, social networks and job search methods: Theory and application to Egypt," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 443-473, December.
  4. Giorgio Topa & Stephen Ross & Patrick Bayer, 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 05-23, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Akgüc, Mehtap & Giulietti, Corrado & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2013. "The RUMiC Longitudinal Survey: Fostering Research on Labor Markets in China," IZA Discussion Papers 7860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Yannis M. Ioannides, 2012. "From Neighborhoods to Nations: The Economics of Social Interactions," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 9892.
  7. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2002. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects and Inequality," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0217, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  8. Yaohui Zhao, 2003. "The Role of Migrant Networks in Labor Migration: The Case of China," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(4), pages 500-511, October.
  9. Sarah Dolfin & Garance Genicot, 2010. "What Do Networks Do? The Role of Networks on Migration and "Coyote" Use," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 343-359, 05.
  10. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2000. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," Working Papers 0005, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  11. Topa, Giorgio, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 261-95, April.
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