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On the Road: Marriage and Mobility in Malaysia

  • James P. Smith
  • Duncan Thomas

Migration choices of husbands and wives in a dynamic and developing country are studied in the context of an economic model of the household. Data are drawn from the second wave of the Malaysia Family Life Survey. Exploiting the retrospective histories, we compare moves that take place before marriage with those made during the marriage; among the latter, moves that are made with the spouse are distinguished from those made alone. The evidence indicates that male mobility is primarily economic in motivation and related to labor market factors. Moves by women, however, seem to be more closely related to fertility or family considerations. Migration is apparently not simply an individual decision; the attributes of the spouse are an important influence on mobility, albeit in an asymmetric manner. Moving toward a broader definition of the household, we find the characteristics of the parents, parents-in-law, and also the (relative) age and gender of siblings all influence mobility in a rich, if complex, way.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 33 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 805-832

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:33:y:1998:i:4:p:805-832
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. McFadden, Daniel & Ruud, Paul A, 1994. "Estimation by Simulation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 591-608, November.
  2. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  3. Stark, Oded & Levhari, David, 1982. "On Migration and Risk in LDCs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 191-96, October.
  4. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-26, August.
  5. Stark, Oded, 1988. "On Marriage and Migration," MPRA Paper 21672, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Pessino, Carola, 1991. "Sequential migration theory and evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 55-87, July.
  7. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-73, October.
  8. McCall, B P & McCall, J J, 1987. "A Sequential Study of Migration and Job Search," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 452-76, October.
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