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Rural Push, Urban Pull and... Urban Push? New Historical Evidence from Developing Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Remi Jedwab

    () (Department of Economics/Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)

  • Luc Christiaensen

    () (Development Research Group, The World Bank)

  • Marina Gindelsky

    () (Department of Economics, George Washington University)

Abstract

Standard models explain urbanization by rural-urban migration in response to an (expected) urban-rural wage gap. The Green Revolution and rural poverty constitute rural push factors of migration. The Industrial Revolution and the urban bias are urban pull factors. This paper offers an additional demographic mechanism, based on internal urban population growth, i.e. an urban push. Using newly compiled historical data on urban birth and death rates for 7 countries from Industrial Europe (1800-1910) and 33 developing countries (1960-2010), we show that many cities of today's developing world are "mushroom cities" vs. the "killer cities" of Industrial Europe; fertility is high, while mortaility is much lower. The high rates of urban natural increase have then accelerated urban growth and urbanization in developing countries, with urban populations now doubling every 18 years (15 years in Africa), compared to every 35 years in Industrial Europe. This is further found to be associated with higher urban congestion, possibly mitigating the benefits from agglomeration and providing further insights into the phenomenon of urbanizatino without growth. Both migration and urban demographics must be considered in debating urbanization.

Suggested Citation

  • Remi Jedwab & Luc Christiaensen & Marina Gindelsky, 2014. "Rural Push, Urban Pull and... Urban Push? New Historical Evidence from Developing Countries," Working Papers 2014-04, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2014-04
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    File URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/assets/docs/papers/Jedwab_IIEPWP_2014-4.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Imai, Katsushi S. & Gaiha, Raghav & Garbero, Alessandra, 2017. "Poverty reduction during the rural–urban transformation: Rural development is still more important than urbanisation," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 963-982.
    2. Cattaneo, Cristina & Peri, Giovanni, 2016. "The migration response to increasing temperatures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 127-146.
    3. Beniamin Viorel BRANZAS, 2015. "Public Services Impact on Urban Migration Phenomenon in Romania," REVISTA DE MANAGEMENT COMPARAT INTERNATIONAL/REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE MANAGEMENT, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 16(3), pages 417-430, July.
    4. Philippe Bocquier & Rafael Costa, 2015. "Which transition comes first? Urban and demographic transitions in Belgium and Sweden," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(48), pages 1297-1332, December.
    5. Douglas Gollin & Remi Jedwab & Dietrich Vollrath, 2016. "Urbanization with and without industrialization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 35-70, March.
    6. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2196-:d:120641 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Mathias Lerch, 2017. "Urban and rural fertility transitions in the developing world: a cohort perspective," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-011, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    8. Castells-Quintana, David, 2017. "Malthus living in a slum: Urban concentration, infrastructure and economic growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 158-173.
    9. Ewout Frankema & Jeffrey Williamson & Pieter Woltjer, 2015. "An Economic Rationale for the African Scramble: The Commercial Transition and the Commodity Price Boom of 1845-1885," NBER Working Papers 21213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Urbanization; DemographicTransition; Migration; Poverty; Slums;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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