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Effect of education on migration decisions in Ghana: a rural-urban perspective


  • Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah
  • Louis Boakye-Yiadom
  • William Baah-Boateng


Purpose - – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of education on migration decisions focusing on rural and urban in-migrants by comparing the 2005/2006 and 2012/2013 rounds of the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS5 and GLSS6). After correcting for selectivity bias, the authors observed that anticipated welfare gain and socio-economic variables such as sector of employment, sex, experience, age, educational level and marital status significantly affect an individual’s migration decision. Design/methodology/approach - – The authors made use of Sjaastad’s (1962) human capital framework as a basis for examining the impact of education on migration. The migration decision equation was based on the Heckman two stage procedure. Findings - – While educational attainment is observed to have a positive effect on migration decision in the period 2005/2006, the authors find a negative effect of educational attainment on migration decision in the period 2012/2013. The effect of educational attainment on migration decision in 2005/2006 for urban in-migrant is higher than the effect for rural in-migrant, with its significance varying for the different stages of educational attainment. In absolute terms, whereas the effect of secondary educational attainment on migration decisions for urban in-migrant is higher than that of rural in-migrant, the reverse holds for higher educational attainment during the period 2012/2013. Social implications - – Based on the mixed effect of education on migration decision as evident from the study, policies to enhance the educational system in Ghana should be complemented with job creations in the entire country. Moreover, special attention should be given to the rural sector in such a way that the jobs to be created in the sector do not require skilled workers. With quality education and job creation, the welfare of individuals living in urban and rural areas will be enhanced. Originality/value - – In spite of the importance of education in migration decisions, there is scanty literature on the rural-urban dimension. To the best of the author’s knowledge there is no literature in the Ghanaian context which examines the rural and urban perspective of the impact of education on migration with a much recent data. Further, the author consider how the determinants of migration decision have changed over time focusing on rural and urban perspectives.

Suggested Citation

  • Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah & Louis Boakye-Yiadom & William Baah-Boateng, 2016. "Effect of education on migration decisions in Ghana: a rural-urban perspective," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 43(2), pages 336-356, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:v:43:y:2016:i:2:p:336-356

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    Cited by:

    1. Aude Bernard & Martin Bell, 2018. "Educational selectivity of internal migrants: A global assessment," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 39(29), pages 835-854.


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