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Does Migration Make Rural Households More Productive? Evidence from Mexico

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  • J. Edward Taylor
  • Alejandro Lopez-Feldman

Abstract

The migration of labour out of rural areas and the flow of remittances from migrants to rural households are an increasingly important feature of less developed countries. This paper explores ways in which migration influences incomes and productivity of land and human capital in rural households over time, using new household survey data from Mexico. Our findings suggest that a massive increase in migration to the United States increased per-capita incomes via remittances and also by raising land productivity in migrant-sending households. They do not support the pessimistic view that migration discourages production in migrant-sending economies, nor the view implicit in separable agricultural household models that migration and remittances influence household incomes but not production.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Edward Taylor & Alejandro Lopez-Feldman, 2010. "Does Migration Make Rural Households More Productive? Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 68-90.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:46:y:2010:i:1:p:68-90
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380903198463
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1992. "Household Composition, Labor Markets, and Labor Demand: Testing for Separation in Agricultural Household Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 287-322, March.
    3. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1.
    4. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
    5. de Janvry, Alain & Fafchamps, Marcel & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1991. "Peasant Household Behaviour with Missing Markets: Some Paradoxes Explained," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(409), pages 1400-1417, November.
    6. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
    7. Lucas, Robert E B, 1987. "Emigration to South Africa's Mines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 313-330, June.
    8. Massey, Douglas S., 2005. "Worlds in Motion: Understanding International Migration at the End of the Millennium," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199282760.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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