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Preliminary Impacts of a New Seasonal Work Program on Rural Household Incomes in the Pacific


  • Gibson, John
  • McKenzie, David


Seasonal work programs are increasingly advocated by international aid agencies as a way of enabling both developed and developing countries to benefit from migration. They are argued to provide workers with new skills and allow them to send remittances home, without the receiving country having to worry about long-term assimilation and the source country worrying about permanent loss of skills. However, formal evidence as to the development impact of seasonal worker programs is nonexistent. This paper provides the first such evaluation, studying New Zealand's new Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) program which allows Pacific Island migrants to work in horticulture and viticulture in New Zealand for up to seven months per year. We use baseline and follow-up waves of surveys we are carrying out in Tonga to form difference-in-difference and propensity score matching estimates of short-term impacts on household income and consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2009. "Preliminary Impacts of a New Seasonal Work Program on Rural Household Incomes in the Pacific," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 50101, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:50101

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David McKenzie & Pilar Garcia Martinez & L. Alan Winters, 2008. "Who is coming from Vanuatu to New Zealand under the new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Program?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0806, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, 2006. "How Cost Elastic are Remittances? Estimates from Tongan Migrants in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 06/02, University of Waikato.
    3. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
    4. Alan de Brauw & Tomoko Harigaya, 2007. "Seasonal Migration and Improving Living Standards in Vietnam," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(2), pages 430-447.
    5. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, 2008. "How Pro-Poor is the Selection of Seasonal Migrant Workers from Tonga Under New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Program?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0807, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yang, Dean, 2009. "International Migration and Human Development," MPRA Paper 19212, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Propensity score matching; Rural household incomes; Seasonal work programs; Labor and Human Capital; J61; O15;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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