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Livelihoods and poverty: The role of migration - a critical review of the migration literature

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  • Arjan de Haan

Abstract

This review of the literature concludes that development studies have paid insufficient attention to labour migration, and makes a plea to integrate analyses of migration within those of agricultural and rural development. It emphasises that population mobility is much more common than is often assumed, and that this has been so throughout human history. In fact, available material suggests that it is as likely that population mobility has decreased as that it has increased. A review of empirical studies shows that it may not be possible to generalise about the characteristics of migrants, or about the effects of migration on broader development, inequality or poverty. The review concludes that, given the importance of migration for the rural livelihoods of many people, policies should be supportive of population mobility, and possibilities should be explored to enhance the positive effects of migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Arjan de Haan, 1999. "Livelihoods and poverty: The role of migration - a critical review of the migration literature," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 1-47.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:36:y:1999:i:2:p:1-47
    DOI: 10.1080/00220389908422619
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    1. Russell, S.S. & Jacobsen, K. & Stanley, W.D., 1990. "International migration and development in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank - Discussion Papers 101, World Bank.
    2. Harry X Wu & Li Zhou, 1996. "Research on Rural-to-Urban Labour Migration in the Post-Reform China: A Survey," Chinese Economies Research Centre (CERC) Working Papers 1996-04, University of Adelaide, Chinese Economies Research Centre.
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