IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Rural-Rural Migration, Land and Labor Markets in Zambia


  • Chamberlin, J.
  • Sitko, N.
  • Jayne, T.


While the bulk of migration literature in Africa has focused on the movement of people from rural to urban areas, much less is known about rural mobility, including its magnitude, drivers, and implications for agricultural development. Using nationally representative survey data for Zambia, we document very high levels of rural mobility throughout the country, and show that this movement is correlated with both land and labor market conditions. About 20% of rural households on average have moved from elsewhere, with highest in-migration rates (~30%) in more accessible, higher density areas, reflecting the importance of wage-employment and services as pull factors. We find that rural in-migrants in relatively accessible areas are wealthier than in-migrants in less accessible areas, although in-migrants are wealthier than non-migrants in all areas. Furthermore, rural in-migrants exhibit greater use of inputs, agricultural productivity, land use intensity and market integration than their non-migrant neighbors. Impacts of in-migration on receiving communities appear to be virtuous: in addition to descriptive indicators that indicate cash injections into local economies (e.g. via greater propensity to hire in labor and services), we find econometric evidence of positive spillover effects of neighborhood in-migration rates on farm-level land productivity outcomes. Acknowledgement : This work was funded by a grant from the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), which is led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and funded by CGIAR Fund Donors.

Suggested Citation

  • Chamberlin, J. & Sitko, N. & Jayne, T., 2018. "Rural-Rural Migration, Land and Labor Markets in Zambia," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277404, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae18:277404
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.277404

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul A. Lewin & Monica Fisher & Bruce Weber, 2012. "Do rainfall conditions push or pull rural migrants: evidence from Malawi," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 43(2), pages 191-204, March.
    2. Daniel Tsegai & Quang Bao Le, 2011. "District-level spatial analysis of migration flows in Ghana: determinants and implications for policy," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 87-100, June.
    3. Jayne, T.S. & Chamberlin, Jordan & Headey, Derek D., 2014. "Land pressures, the evolution of farming systems, and development strategies in Africa: A synthesis," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 1-17.
    4. Nicholas Sitko & Jordan Chamberlin, 2015. "The Anatomy of Medium-Scale Farm Growth in Zambia: What Are the Implications for the Future of Smallholder Agriculture?," Land, MDPI, vol. 4(3), pages 1-19, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Sarah E. Tione & Stein T. Holden, 2021. "Can rainfall shocks enhance access to rented land? Evidence from Malawi," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 52(6), pages 1013-1028, November.
    2. Jordan Chamberlin & T. S. Jayne & Nicholas J. Sitko, 2020. "Rural in‐migration and agricultural development: Evidence from Zambia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 51(4), pages 491-504, July.
    3. Jordan Chamberlin & Cristina Ramos & Kibrom Abay, 2021. "Do more Vibrant Rural Areas have Lower Rates of Youth Out-Migration? Evidence from Zambia," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 33(4), pages 951-979, August.
    4. Derek Headey & David Stifel & Liangzhi You & Zhe Guo, 2018. "Remoteness, urbanization, and child nutrition in sub‐Saharan Africa," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 49(6), pages 765-775, November.
    5. Del Prete, Davide & Ghins, Léopold & Magrini, Emiliano & Pauw, Karl, 2019. "Land consolidation, specialization and household diets: Evidence from Rwanda," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 139-149.
    6. Alobo Loison, Sarah & Hillbom, Ellen, 2020. "Regional evidence of smallholder-based growth in Zambia’s livestock sector," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 19(C).
    7. Falconnier, Gatien N. & Descheemaeker, Katrien & Traore, Bouba & Bayoko, Arouna & Giller, Ken E., 2018. "Agricultural intensification and policy interventions: Exploring plausible futures for smallholder farmers in Southern Mali," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 623-634.
    8. Tomich, Thomas P. & Lidder, Preetmoninder & Coley, Mariah & Gollin, Douglas & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth & Webb, Patrick & Carberry, Peter, 2019. "Food and agricultural innovation pathways for prosperity," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 1-15.
    9. Droppelmann, Klaus & Makuwira, Jonathan & Kumwenda, Ian, 2012. "All eggs in one basket : A reflection on Malawi’s dependence on agricultural growth strategy," IFPRI discussion papers 1177, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Shyamsundar, Priya & Ahlroth, Sofia & Kristjanson, Patricia & Onder, Stefanie, 2020. "Supporting pathways to prosperity in forest landscapes – A PRIME framework," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    11. Sitko, Nicholas J. & Chamberlin, Jordan & Hichaambwa, Munguzwe, 2015. "The Geography of Customary Land in Zambia: Is Development Strategy Engaging With The Facts?," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 211222, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    12. repec:ipg:wpaper:17 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Alex Zizinga & Jackson Gilbert Majaliwa Mwanjalolo & Britta Tietjen & Bobe Bedadi & Ramon Amaro de Sales & Dennis Beesigamukama, 2022. "Simulating Maize Productivity under Selected Climate Smart Agriculture Practices Using AquaCrop Model in a Sub-humid Environment," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(4), pages 1-17, February.
    14. Jayne, T.S. & Chamberlin, Jordan & Traub, Lulama & Sitko, N. & Muyanga, Milu & Yeboah, Kwame & Nkonde, Chewe & Anseeuw, Ward & Chapoto, A. & Kachule, Richard, 2015. "Africa’s Changing Farmland Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Miscellaneous Publications 208576, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    15. Joseph Ikechukwu Uduji & Elda Nduka Okolo‐Obasi, 2023. "Gender equity and land: The role of corporate social responsibility in Niger Delta, Nigeria," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(6), pages 1216-1238, August.
    16. Marwan Benali & Bernhard Brümmer & Victor Afari‐Sefa, 2018. "Smallholder participation in vegetable exports and age‐disaggregated labor allocation in Northern Tanzania," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 49(5), pages 549-562, September.
    17. Lorenzo Cotula & Ward Anseeuw & Giulia Maria Baldinelli, 2019. "Between Promising Advances and Deepening Concerns: A Bottom-Up Review of Trends in Land Governance 2015–2018," Land, MDPI, vol. 8(7), pages 1-13, July.
    18. Ashrita Saran & Sabina Singh & Neha Gupta & Sujata Chodankar Walke & Ranjana Rao & Christine Simiyu & Suchi Malhotra & Avni Mishra & Ranjitha Puskur & Edoardo Masset & Howard White & Hugh Sharma Waddi, 2022. "PROTOCOL: Interventions promoting resilience through climate‐smart agricultural practices for women farmers: A systematic review," Campbell Systematic Reviews, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 18(3), September.
    19. Deininger,Klaus W. & Xia,Fang & Savastano,Sara, 2015. "Smallholders? land ownership and access in Sub-Saharan Africa: a new landscape ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7285, The World Bank.
    20. Aryal, Jeetendra Prakash & Rahut, Dil Bahadur & Thapa, Ganesh & Simtowe, Franklin, 2021. "Mechanisation of small-scale farms in South Asia: Empirical evidence derived from farm households survey," Technology in Society, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    21. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2022. "Are There Too Many Farms in the World? Labor Market Transaction Costs, Machine Capacities, and Optimal Farm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 130(3), pages 636-680.

    More about this item


    Labor and Human Capital;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:iaae18:277404. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: AgEcon Search (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.