IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The agricultural input elasticity of rural-urban migration in South Africa


  • Asfaha, T.A.
  • Jooste, Andre


The pace of rural-urban migration relative to urban job creation is of particular relevance in relation to the level of urban unemployment and poverty in many developing countries. Faced with high levels of urban unemployment and other socio-economic problems governments in developing countries adopted several policies to ameliorate the situation. Since such policies were mainly urban biased in nature it not only failed in most cases but also in some instance exacerbated the situation by stimulating more rural-urban migration. Rural-urban migration occurs where there is economic disparity between rural and urban areas. Some economists therefore, argue that boosting agricultural productivity and/ or income can reduce the incidence of economic problems partially posed by rural-urban migration. In this paper, an attempt is made, using a recursive equation system and a South African data set for the period 1965-2002, to measure the indirect agricultural input elasticity of rural-urban migration. The results indicate that narrowing the urban-rural income differentials can reduce the massive rural-urban migration and high urban unemployment in the country. It is furthermore shown that developing agricultural land and infrastructure and increasing fertilizer use can boost agricultural income, reduce rural-urban migration and is consistent with policies aimed at curbing urban unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Asfaha, T.A. & Jooste, Andre, 2006. "The agricultural input elasticity of rural-urban migration in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 45(1), March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:agreko:31736

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fields, Gary S., 1975. "Rural-urban migration, urban unemployment and underemployment, and job-search activity in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 165-187, June.
    2. Prabir C. Bhattacharya, 2002. "Rural-to-urban migration in LDCS: a test of two rival models," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(7), pages 951-972.
    3. Hayami, Yujiro & Ruttan, Vernon W, 1970. "Agricultural Productivity Differences Among Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(5), pages 895-911, December.
    4. Mihails Hazans, 2003. "Determinants of Inter-Regional Migration in the Baltic Countries," ERSA conference papers ersa03p354, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Hanson, James A, 1971. "Employment and Rural Wages in Egypt: A Reinterpretation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 492-499, June.
    6. Goldsmith, Peter D. & Gunjal, Kisan & Ndarishikanye, Barnabe, 2004. "Rural-urban migration and agricultural productivity: the case of Senegal," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 31(1), pages 33-45, July.
    7. Mundlak, Yair & Larson, Don & Butzer, Ritz, 1997. "The determinants of agricultural production : a cross-country analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1827, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Labor and Human Capital;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:agreko:31736. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.