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Inequality and Migration: A Behavioral Link

  • Stark, Oded

    (University of Bonn, University of Klagenfurt, University of Vienna, Warsaw University and ESCE Economic and Social Research Center, Cologne and Eisenstadt)

We provide an analytical-behavioral explanation for the observed positive relationship between income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, and the incentive to migrate. We show that a higher total relative deprivation of a population leads to a stronger incentive to engage in migration for a given level of a population’s income; that total relative deprivation is positively related to the Gini coefficient; and that, consequently, the Gini coefficient and migration are positively correlated, holding the population’s income constant.

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File URL: http://www.ihs.ac.at/publications/eco/es-178.pdf
File Function: First version, 2005
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Paper provided by Institute for Advanced Studies in its series Economics Series with number 178.

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Length: 11 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:178
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  1. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1994. "Satisfaction and comparison income," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9408, CEPREMAP.
  5. Thomas Liebig & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2004. "Migration, Self-Selection and Income Inequality: An International Analysis," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 125-146, 02.
  6. Oded Stark & You Qiang Wang, 2000. "A Theory of Migration as a Response to Relative Deprivation," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(2), pages 131-143, 05.
  7. David Andolfatto, 2002. "A Theory of Inalienable Property Rights," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 382-393, April.
  8. Stark, Oded, 1990. "A Relative Deprivation Approach to Performance Incentives in Career Games and Other Contests," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 211-27.
  9. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 1668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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