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Migration and human capital in Brazil during the 1990s


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  • Fiess, Norbert M.
  • Verner, Dorte


Nearly 40 percent of all Brazilians have migrated at one point and time, and in-migrants represent substantial portions of regional populations. Migration in Brazil has historically been a mechanism for adjustment to disequilibria. Poorer regions and those with fewer economic opportunities have traditionally sent migrants to more prosperous regions. As such, the southeast region, where economic conditions are most favorable, has historically received migrants from the northeast region. Migration should have benefited both regions. The southeast benefits by importing skilled and unskilled labor that makes local capital more productive. The northeast can benefit from upward pressures on wages and through remittances that migrant households return to their region of origin. The northeast of Brazil is a net sender of migrants to the southeast. In recent years a large number of people moved from the southeast to the northeast. Compared with northeast to southeast (NE-SE) migrants, southeast to northeast (SE-NE) migrants are less homogeneous regarding age, wage, and income. SE-NE migrants are on average poorer and less educated than the southeast average, while NE-SE migrants are financially better off and higher educated than the northeast average. The authors find that the predicted returns to migration are increasing with education for SE-NE migrants and decreasing for NE-SE migrants. They further observe that the returns to migration have been decreasing for NE-SE migrants and increasing for SE-NE migrants between 1995 and 1999. This finding helps explain migration dynamics in Brazil. While the predicted positive returns to migration for NE-SE migrants indicate that NE-SE migration follows in general the human capital approach to migration, the estimated lower returns to migration for SE-NE may indicate that nonmonetary factors also play a role in SE-NE migration.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3093.

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Date of creation: 31 Jul 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3093

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Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Anthropology; Human Migrations&Resettlements; Public Health Promotion; Voluntary and Involuntary Resettlement; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Anthropology; Voluntary and Involuntary Resettlement; Human Migrations&Resettlements; International Migration;

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  1. Francisco de Hollanda Guimarães Ferreira & Peter Lanjouw & Marcelo Neri, 2000. "A new poverty profile for Brazil using PPV, PNAD and census data," Textos para discussão, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil) 418, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  2. Schady, Norbert R., 2001. "Convexity and sheepskin effects in the human capital earnings function : recent evidence for Filipino men," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2566, The World Bank.
  3. Robert J. Willis & Sherwin Rosen, 1978. "Education and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 0249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Chris Robinson & Nigel Tomes, 1982. "Self-Selection and Interprovincial Migration in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 15(3), pages 474-502, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Marta Castilho & Marta Menéndez & Aude Sztulman, 2009. "Trade liberalization, inequality and poverty in Brazilian states," Working Papers halshs-00574996, HAL.
  2. Marie Daumal, 2010. "The impact of trade openness on regional inequality : the cases of India and Brazil," Working Papers, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) DT/2010/04, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  3. Thomas Gries & Manfred Kraft & Christina Pieck, 2011. "Interregional migration, self-selection and the returns to education in Brazil," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 707-732, June.
  4. Daumal, Marie, 2010. "The Impact of Trade Openness on Regional Inequality: the Cases of India and Brazil," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4295, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. Alexandre Carvalho & Daniel da Mata & Kenneth M. Chomitz & João Carlos Magalhães, 2005. "Spatial Dynamics of Labor Markets in Brazil," Discussion Papers, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA 1110, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
  6. repec:hal:psewpa:halshs-00967356 is not listed on IDEAS


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