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