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Individual Ability and Selection into Migration in Kenya

Author

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  • Edward Miguel

    () (Center of Evaluation for Global Action, University of California, Berkeley)

  • Joan Hamory

    () (Centre of Evaluation for Global Action, University of California)

Abstract

This study exploits a new longitudinal dataset to examine selective migration among 1,500 Kenyan youth originally living in rural areas. We examine whether migration rates are related to individual “ability”, broadly defined to include cognitive aptitude as well as health, and then use these estimates to determine how much of the urban-rural wage gap in Kenya is due to selection versus actual productivity differences. Whereas previous empirical work has focused on schooling attainment as a proxy for cognitive ability, we employ an arguably preferable measure, a pre-migration primary school academic test score. Pre-migration randomized assignment to a deworming treatment program provides variation in health status. We find a positive relationship between both measures of human capital (cognitive ability and deworming) and subsequent migration, though only the former is robust at standard statistical significance levels. Specifically, an increase of two standard deviations in academic test score increases the likelihood of rural-urban migration by 17%. Accounting for migration selection due to both cognitive ability and schooling attainment does not explain more than a small fraction of the sizeable urban-rural wage gap in Kenya, suggesting that productivity differences across sectors remain large.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Miguel & Joan Hamory, 2009. "Individual Ability and Selection into Migration in Kenya," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-45, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Sep 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2009-45
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1988. "Labor markets in low-income countries," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 713-762 Elsevier.
    2. Martin Bell & Salut Muhidin, 2009. "Cross-National Comparisons of Internal Migration," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-30, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Jul 2009.
    3. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, January.
    4. Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Are migrants more skilled than non-migrants? Repeat, return, and same-employer migrants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 830-849, November.
    5. Hoddinott, John, 1994. "A Model of Migration and Remittances Applied to Western Kenya," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 459-476, July.
    6. Lanzona, Leonardo A., 1998. "Migration, self-selection and earnings in Philippine rural communities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 27-50, June.
    7. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-918, October.
    8. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    9. Baird, Sarah & Hamory, Joan & Miguel, Edward, 2008. "Tracking, Attrition and Data Quality in the Kenyan Life Panel Survey Round 1 (KLPS-1)," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt3cw7p1hx, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    10. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kempe Ronald Hope Sr., 2012. "Urbanisation in Kenya," African Journal of Economic and Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 4-26.
    2. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "The Agricultural Productivity Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 939-993.
    3. Wim Naudé, 2016. "Entrepreneurship and the Reallocation of African Farmers," Agrekon, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(1-2), pages 1-33, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; selection; human capital; ability; urban-rural wage gap; productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • C3 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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