On the Road: Marriage and Mobility in Malaysia
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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