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The search goes on: Parameter effects on the return migration decision

Author

Listed:
  • Wayne Edwards

    () (Economics Department, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753, USA.)

  • Lee Huskey

    (Economics Department, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA.)

Abstract

In this paper we present an experiment designed to test some of the predictions of the Harris-Todaro model of migration. In particular, we examine determinants of an individual’s return migration decisions. Data issues in the developing world and with migration data in general limit empirical testing of the model. In such a data environment, laboratory experiments can add insight to the theory. We introduce an external opportunity to a traditional labour market search experiment to examine whether it extends search and unemployment in a primary market. Our results generally support the predictions of the model. The experiments predict that the possibility of return, the cost of return, and the existence of trophy wage opportunities in the urban market all reduce the likelihood of return migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Wayne Edwards & Lee Huskey, 2014. "The search goes on: Parameter effects on the return migration decision," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 11(1), pages 79-89, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:journl:v:11:y:2014:i:1:p:79-89
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yasuhiro Sato, 2004. "Migration, Frictional Unemployment, and Welfare-Improving Labor Policies," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(4), pages 773-793.
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    3. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
    4. Charles A. Ingene, 2001. "The State of the Art in Modeling Migration in LDCS: A Comment," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 529-543.
    5. Dustmann, Christian, 2003. "Return migration, wage differentials, and the optimal migration duration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 353-369, April.
    6. Cox, James C & Oaxaca, Ronald L, 1992. "Direct Tests of the Reservation Wage Property," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1423-1432, November.
    7. Katz, Eliakim & Stark, Oded, 1986. "Labor Migration and Risk Aversion in Less Developed Countries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(1), pages 134-149, January.
    8. Hey, John D., 1987. "Still searching," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 137-144, March.
    9. Richard Agesa, 2000. "The incentive for rural to urban migration: a re-examination of the Harris-Todaro model," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 107-110.
    10. Wayne Edwards & Lee Huskey, 2008. "Job search with an external opportunity: an experimental exploration of the Todaro Paradox," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 42(4), pages 807-819, December.
    11. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-142, March.
    12. Vernon L. Smith, 1994. "Economics in the Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 113-131, Winter.
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