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Does Migration Make Rural Households More Productive? Evidence from Mexico

  • J. Edward Taylor

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • Alejandro López-Feldman

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

The migration of labor out of rural areas and the flow of remittances from migrants to rural households is an increasingly important feature of less developed countries. This paper explores ways in which migration influences incomes and productivity of land and human capital in rural households over time, using new household survey data from Mexico. Our findings suggest that a massive increase in migration to the United States increased per-capita incomes via remittances and also by raising land productivity in migrant-sending households. They do not support the pessimistic view that migration discourages production in migrant-sending economies, nor the view implicit in separable agricultural household models that migration and remittances influence household incomes but not production.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA) in its series Working Papers with number 07-10.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0710
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  1. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1992. "Household Composition, Labor Markets, and Labor Demand: Testing for Separation in Agricultural Household Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 287-322, March.
  2. de Janvry, Alain & Fafchamps, Marcel & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 1991. "Peasant Household Behaviour with Missing Markets: Some Paradoxes Explained," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(409), pages 1400-417, November.
  3. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
  4. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, October.
  5. Lucas, Robert E B, 1987. "Emigration to South Africa's Mines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 313-30, June.
  6. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
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