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Migration in a model of occupational choice

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  • Sahana Roy Chowdhury

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide a theoretical explanation for the empirical observation that the relative migration of unskilled (skilled) labor tends to occur from developing economies that are relatively unequal (equal). Design/methodology/approach - Wealth inequality is related with migration incentives of skilled and unskilled labor in a model of occupational choice using a two-period overlapping generations framework. Findings - It is shown that high inequality creates a disincentive to migrate for skilled labor. Too much equality however creates a disincentive to migrate for unskilled labor. Thus, a highly unequal (equal) economy sustains unskilled (skilled) labor migration only. Originality/value - Relative to the existing theoretical literature on migration, the distinguishing feature of this model is that it has entrepreneurship as an alternative occupational choice. This implies that the incentive to migrate is not affected solely by wage differentials across countries. It is shown that in a highly unequal developing economy there is no skilled migration – despite the gap between the skilled wage of the source economy and that of the foreign economy – in equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Sahana Roy Chowdhury, 2008. "Migration in a model of occupational choice," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 84-94, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:igdrpp:v:1:y:2008:i:1:p:84-94
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-827, August.
    2. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:15:y:2002:i:7:p:1-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    4. Khan, Azizur Rahman & Riskin, Carl, 2001. "Inequality and Poverty in China in the Age of Globalization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195136494.
    5. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    6. Hillel Rapoport, 2002. "Migration, credit constraints and self-employment: A simple model of occupational choice, inequality and growth," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(7), pages 1-5.
    7. Alice Mesnard, 2004. "Temporary migration and capital market imperfections," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 242-262, April.
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