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Costs and benefits of rural-urban migration: Evidence from India

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  • Imbert, Clément
  • Papp, John

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on rural-urban migration decisions in developing countries. Using original survey data from rural India, we show that seasonal migrants prefer to earn 35 percent less on local public works rather than incur the cost of migrating. Structural estimates suggest that the fixed cost of migration is small, and can be entirely explained by travel costs and income risk. In contrast, the flow cost of migration is high. We argue that higher living costs in the city explain only a small part of the flow cost of migration and that most of it is non-monetary.

Suggested Citation

  • Imbert, Clément & Papp, John, 2020. "Costs and benefits of rural-urban migration: Evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:146:y:2020:i:c:s0304387820300481
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2020.102473
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    Cited by:

    1. Gröger, André, 2021. "Easy come, easy go? Economic shocks, labor migration and the family left behind," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    2. Demont, Timothée, 2022. "Coping with shocks: How Self-Help Groups impact food security and seasonal migration," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).
    3. Qingjun Zhao & Meijing Song & Hanrui Wang, 2022. "Voting with Your Feet: The Impact of Urban Public Health Service Accessibility on the Permanent Migration Intentions of Rural Migrants in China," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(22), pages 1-20, November.
    4. Selod, Harris & Shilpi, Forhad, 2021. "Rural-urban migration in developing countries: Lessons from the literature," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    5. Sudha Narayanan & Christian Oldiges & Shree Saha, 2020. "Employment guarantee during times of COVID-19: Pro-poor and pro-return-migrant?," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2020-034, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    6. Yanjiao Song & Nina Zhu & Feng Luo, 2022. "City Size and Permanent Settlement Intention: Evidence from Rural-Urban Migrants in China," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(2), pages 1-18, January.
    7. Ghose,Devaki, 2021. "Trade, Internal Migration, and Human Capital : Who Gains from India’s IT Boom?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9738, The World Bank.
    8. Paul Blanchard & Douglas Gollin & Martina Kirchberger, 2023. "Perpetual Motion: High-Frequency Human Mobility in Three African Countries," Trinity Economics Papers tep0823, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    9. Kai Tang, 2022. "The Effect of Left-Behind Women on Fertilizer Use: Evidence from China’s Rural Households Engaging in Rural-Urban Migration," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(1), pages 1-12, December.
    10. Sravaitri CHAUDHURI & Ranajoy BHATTACHARYYA & Sukanta BHATTACHARYA, 2021. "Rural urban migration with heterogeneous firms, heterogonous laborer and the effect of wage subsidy," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania / Editura Economica, vol. 0(3(628), A), pages 143-156, Autumn.
    11. Mckenzie,David J., 2022. "Fears and Tears : Should More People Be Moving within and from Developing Countries, andWhat Stops This Movement ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 10128, The World Bank.
    12. Ivan A. Borisov, 2021. "Agricultural personnel and rural labour: How is their reproduction related?," Journal of New Economy, Ural State University of Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 161-183, October.
    13. Marco Baudino, 2021. "Rural-to-urban migration in developing economies: characterizing the role of the rural labor supply in the process of urban agglomeration and city growth," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 66(3), pages 533-556, June.
    14. Qingen Gai & Naijia Guo & Bingjing Li & Qinghua Shi & Xiaodong Zhu, 2021. "Migration Costs, Sorting, and the Agricultural Productivity Gap," Working Papers tecipa-693, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    15. Narayan Chandra Nayak & Bimal Kishore Sahoo & Mamata Jenamani & Alok Ranjan Mohanty & Runa Sen Chatterjee, 2021. "Does Convergence of Rural Development Schemes Improve Household Welfare? An Investigation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in Odisha, India," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 64(4), pages 1023-1042, December.
    16. Timothée Demont, 2020. "Coping with shocks: the impact of Self-Help Groups on migration and food security," Working Papers halshs-02571730, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internal migration; Workfare programs; India; Urban; Rural;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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