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Individual Ability and Selection into Migration in Kenya

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  • Miguel, Edward
  • Hamory, Joan

Abstract

This study exploits a new longitudinal dataset to examine selective migration among 1,500 Kenyan youth originally living in rural areas. We examine whether migration rates are related to individual “ability”, broadly defined to include cognitive aptitude as well as health, and then use these estimates to determine how much of the urban-rural wage gap in Kenya is due to selection versus actual productivity differences. Whereas previous empirical work has focused on schooling attainment as a proxy for cognitive ability, we employ an arguably preferable measure, a pre-migration primary school academic test score. Pre-migration randomized assignment to a deworming treatment program provides variation in health status. We find a positive relationship between both measures of human capital (cognitive ability and deworming) and subsequent migration, though only the former is robust at standard statistical significance levels. Specifically, an increase of two standard deviations in academic test score increases the likelihood of rural-urban migration by 17%. Accounting for migration selection due to both cognitive ability and schooling attainment does not explain more than a small fraction of the sizeable urban-rural wage gap in Kenya, suggesting that productivity differences across sectors remain large.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 19228.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:19228

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Keywords: Migration; selection; human capital; ability; urban-rural wage gap; productivity;

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References

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  1. Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Are migrants more skilled than non-migrants? Repeat, return, and same-employer migrants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 830-849, November.
  2. Baird, Sarah & Hamory, Joan & Miguel, Edward, 2008. "Tracking, Attrition and Data Quality in the Kenyan Life Panel Survey Round 1 (KLPS-1)," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt3cw7p1hx, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Hoddinott, John, 1994. "A Model of Migration and Remittances Applied to Western Kenya," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 459-76, July.
  4. Lanzona, Leonardo A., 1998. "Migration, self-selection and earnings in Philippine rural communities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 27-50, June.
  5. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-18, October.
  6. Bell, Martin & Muhidin, Salut, 2009. "Cross-National Comparison of Internal Migration," MPRA Paper 19213, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "Income Maximization and the Selection and Sorting of International Migrants," NBER Working Papers 13821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, 01.
  9. Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1988. "Labor markets in low-income countries," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 713-762 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Kempe Ronald Hope Sr., 2012. "Urbanisation in Kenya," African Journal of Economic and Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 4-26.

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