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On the Intersectoral Migration of Agricultural Labor

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  • Larson, Donald
  • Mundlak, Yair

Abstract

Labor is the single most important factor in determining national income. As economies grow, agricultural labor declines as a share of total labor and converges to a level of 2 or 3 percent. Off-farm migration facilitates the development of nonagriculture, but historically the process spans decades. The authors argue that the pace of the process is a fundamental outcome of a dynamic equilibrium based on expectations of lifetime earnings and the cost of migration. The authors present an empirical model of the determinants of intersectoral migration. One fundamental determinant is income differences across sectors. As such, migration should stop when income differences reach a certain level. The authors provide a method of measuring the level at which intersectoral migration will cease. While there are credible reasons for a permanent difference to exist between sectoral incomes, the authors find no empirical evidence of a permanent wedge.
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Suggested Citation

  • Larson, Donald & Mundlak, Yair, 1997. "On the Intersectoral Migration of Agricultural Labor," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 295-319, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:45:y:1997:i:2:p:295-319
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/452275
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dollar, David, 1990. "Economic Reform and Allocative Efficiency in China's State-Owned Industry," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 89-105, October.
    2. Jefferson, Gary H., 1990. "China's iron and steel industry : Sources of enterprise efficiency and the impact of reform," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 329-355, October.
    3. Perkins, Dwight Heald, 1988. "Reforming China's Economic System," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 601-645, June.
    4. Jefferson, Gary H & Rawski, Thomas G & Yuxin, Zheng, 1992. "Growth, Efficiency, and Convergence in China's State and Collective Industry," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 239-266, January.
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