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The Welfare Effects of Encouraging Rural-Urban Migration

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Abstract

This paper studies the welfare effects of encouraging rural-urban migration in the developing world. To do so, we build and analyze a dynamic general-equilibrium model of migration that features a rich set of migration motives. We estimate the model to replicate the results of a field experiment that subsidized seasonal migration in rural Bangladesh, leading to significant increases in migration and consumption. We show that the welfare gains from migration subsidies come from providing better insurance for vulnerable rural households rather than correcting spatial misallocation by relaxing credit constraints for those with high productivity in urban areas that are stuck in rural areas.

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  • David Lagakos & Mushfiq Mobarak & Michael E. Waugh, 2022. "The Welfare Effects of Encouraging Rural-Urban Migration," Staff Report 635, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:93606
    DOI: 10.21034/sr.635
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk; Insurance; Rural-urban gaps; Field experiment; Rural-urban migration; Spatial misallocation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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