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Rural–Urban Migration And Unemployment: Theory And Policy Implications

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  • Yves Zenou

Abstract

We develop a regional model where, in the city, unemployment prevails because of too high (efficiency) wages, while, in the rural area, workers are paid at their marginal productivity. We characterize the steady-state equilibrium and show that it is unique. We then consider two policies: decreasing urban unemployment benefits and subsidizing urban employment. We find that decreasing the unemployment benefit in the city creates urban jobs and reduces rural-urban migration since new migrants have to spend some time unemployed before they can find a job in the city. On the other hand, raising employment subsidies increases urban employment but may also increase urban unemployment because it triggers more rural-urban migration. In this respect, the employment subsidy policy can backfire by raising rather than reducing urban unemployment.
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Suggested Citation

  • Yves Zenou, 2011. "Rural–Urban Migration And Unemployment: Theory And Policy Implications," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 65-82, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:51:y:2011:i:1:p:65-82
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman, 2008. "Distance From Urban Agglomeration Economies And Rural Poverty," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 285-310.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuranno, Michele G. & Rongili, Biswas, 2012. "Inter-jurisdictional migration and the size of government," MPRA Paper 42604, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Tadashi Morita & Yukiko Sawada & Kazuhiro Yamamoto, 2017. "Subsidy competition, imperfect labor markets, and the endogenous entry of firms," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 17-07, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    3. MORITA Tadashi & SAWADA Yukiko & YAMAMOTO Kazuhiro, 2016. "Subsidy Competition, Imperfect Labor Market, and Endogenous Entry of Firms," Discussion papers 16096, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. Ghani, Ejaz & Kerr, William R. & O'Connell, Stephen D., 2013. "The exceptional persistence of India's unorganized sector," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6454, The World Bank.
    5. Huikang Ying, 2015. "Labour Informality, Selective Migration, and Productivity in General Equilibrium," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 15/653, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    6. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2013. "New Frontiers Of Immigration Research: Cities And Firms," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-7, February.
    7. Jiancai Pi & Yu Zhou, 2015. "The impacts of corruption on wage inequality and rural–urban migration in developing countries," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 54(3), pages 753-768, May.
    8. Klarl, Torben Alexander, 2015. "Urban-rural migration and congestion costs revisited: is there a triple dividend for cities in developing countries?," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112829, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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