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The Development Impact of a Best Practice Seasonal Worker Policy: New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme

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Author Info

  • John Gibson

    ()
    (University of Waikato)

  • David Mckenzie

    ()
    (World Bank)

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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File URL: ftp://mngt.waikato.ac.nz/RePEc/wai/econwp/1008.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Waikato, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 10/08.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 18 Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:10/08

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Keywords: seasonal migration; matched difference-in-differences;

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References

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  1. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2301, The World Bank.
  2. Macours, Karen & Vakis, Renos, 2008. "Seasonal Migration and Early Childhood Development," Working Paper Series RP2008/48, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2010. "How Important Is Selection? Experimental vs. Non-Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
  4. 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 0716, University of Miami, Department of Economics, revised 12 Jun 2007.
  5. Dehejia, Rajeev, 2005. "Practical propensity score matching: a reply to Smith and Todd," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 355-364.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Some new experiments trying to help more people emigrate from the Philippines
    by David McKenzie in Development Impact on 2013-09-16 13:21:58
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Cited by:
  1. Gharad Bryan & Shyamal Chowdhury & A. Mushfiq Mobarak, 2011. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," Working Papers id:4650, eSocialSciences.

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