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Wealth Heterogeneity and the Income Elasticity of Migration

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  • Samuel Bazzi

Abstract

How do income shocks affect international migration flows from poor countries? Income growth not only increases the opportunity cost of migration but also eases liquidity constraints. I develop a method to separate these countervailing individual effects and identify the overall income elasticity of migration. Using new administrative and census data from Indonesia, I find that positive agricultural income shocks increase labor emigration flows, particularly in villages with relatively more small landholders. However, in the most developed rural areas, persistent income shocks reduce emigration. Overall, the findings highlight the important role of wealth heterogeneity in shaping migration flows as incomes rise.

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  • Samuel Bazzi, 2017. "Wealth Heterogeneity and the Income Elasticity of Migration," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 219-255, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:2:p:219-55
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20150548
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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