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The development impact of a best practice seasonal worker policy

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  • Gibson, John
  • McKenzie, David

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. This paper studies the development impacts of a recently introduced seasonal worker program that has been deemed to be"best practice."New Zealand's Recognized Seasonal Employer 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 measurement of 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, the authors find that the Recognized Seasonal Employer program has indeed had largely positive development impacts. It has increased income and consumption of households, allowed households to purchase more durable goods, increased the 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 The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5488.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5488

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Keywords: Small Area Estimation Poverty Mapping; Housing&Human Habitats; Population Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Anthropology;

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References

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  1. Macours, Karen & Vakis, Renos, 2010. "Seasonal Migration and Early Childhood Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 857-869, June.
  2. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2009. "Dealing with limited overlap in estimation of average treatment effects," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 96(1), pages 187-199.
  3. Clemens, Michael & Montenegro, Claudio & Pritchett, Lant, 2009. "The Place Premium: Wage Differences for Identical Workers across the US Border," Working Paper Series rwp09-004, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. 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.
  5. 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, vol. 26(8), pages 1137-1161, 08.
  6. 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, January.
  7. 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.
  8. 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?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0806, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  9. Martin RUHS, 2006. "The potential of temporary migration programmes in future international migration policy," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 145(1-2), pages 7-36, 03.
  10. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2301, The World Bank.
  11. 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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Cited by:
  1. Kudo, Yuya, 2012. "Returns to migration : the role of educational attainment in rural Tanzania," IDE Discussion Papers 322, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  2. repec:dgr:unumer:2012077 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. 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 201412, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  4. Siegel, Melissa & Waidler, Jennifer, 2012. "Migration and multi-dimensional poverty in Moldovan communities," MERIT Working Papers 077, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. Manjula Luthria, 2011. "Labor Mobility for the Poor : Is it Really Possible?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10112, The World Bank.
  6. Mevlude Akbulut Yuksel & Mutlu Yuksel, 2013. "The Long-Term Direct and External Effects of Jewish Expulsions in Nazi Germany," HiCN Working Papers 154, Households in Conflict Network.
  7. Bryan, Gharad & Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2012. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," CEPR Discussion Papers 8739, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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