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Migration and the wage and unemployment gaps between urban and non-urban sectors: A dynamic general equilibrium reinterpretation of the Harris-Todaro equilibrium

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  • Lee, Chul-In

Abstract

This paper offers a dynamic general equilibrium reinterpretation of the static partial migration equilibrium by Harris and Todaro [Harris, J., Todaro, M., 1970. Migration, unemployment and development; a two-sector analysis. American Economic Review 60, 126-142], under (i) flexible urban and rural wages and (ii) free mobility of workers and free entry of firms. The proposed model accounts for the set of stylized facts in developing countries: rural to urban migration and higher urban wages and unemployment. The model allows us to view the wage gap as a compensating differential for the negative amenities associated with job destruction and subsequent costly search on the consumption side, which can also be seen as a match-specific premium based on a sectoral productivity differential on the production side. Our model predicts the comovements among urban and non-urban wages and migration flows to the urban sector, an empirical regularity observed over the urbanization process of developing economies. Finally, we also conduct a welfare analysis.

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  • Lee, Chul-In, 2008. "Migration and the wage and unemployment gaps between urban and non-urban sectors: A dynamic general equilibrium reinterpretation of the Harris-Todaro equilibrium," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1416-1434, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:15:y:2008:i:6:p:1416-1434
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    Cited by:

    1. Wrede, Matthias, 2012. "Wages, rents, unemployment, and the quality of life," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 01/2012 [rev.], Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    2. Matthias Wrede, 2015. "Wages, Rents, Unemployment, And The Quality Of Life: A Consistent Theory‐Based Measure," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 609-625, September.
    3. Chul-In Lee, 2015. "Agglomeration, search frictions and growth of cities in developing economies," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 55(2), pages 421-451, December.
    4. Chul‐In Lee, 2010. "Can Search‐Matching Models Explain Migration And Wage And Unemployment Gaps In Developing Economies? A Calibration Approach," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 635-654, May.
    5. Masaharu Nagashima, 2018. "A condition for the reduction of urban unemployment in the Harris–Todaro model," Asia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 243-255, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    J31 J61 J64 Migration Urban vs. non-urban wage and unemployment gaps Matching Equilibrium unemployment Compensating wage differential Welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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