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Strong versus Weak Ties in Migration

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  • Giulietti, Corrado

    (University of Southampton)

  • Wahba, Jackline

    (University of Southampton)

  • Zenou, Yves

    (Monash University)

Abstract

This paper studies the role of strong versus weak ties in the rural-to-urban migration decision in China. We first develop a network model that puts forward the different roles of weak and strong ties in helping workers to migrate to the city. We then use a unique longitudinal data that allows us to test our model by focusing on first-time migration. Strong ties are measured by the closest family contact, while weak ties are determined by the fraction of migrants from the village in which the individual resides. We address the endogeneity of the network formation in the migration decision. Our results indicate that both weak and strong ties matter in the migration decision process, although the impact of weak ties is higher than that of strong ties. We also show that one underestimates the effect of social networks on migration by not taking into account the strong ties in the mobility process. We finally find that weak and strong ties act as complements in the migration decision, which indicates that the interactive effect between weak and strong ties is particularly strong above a certain threshold of the size of weak ties.

Suggested Citation

  • Giulietti, Corrado & Wahba, Jackline & Zenou, Yves, 2014. "Strong versus Weak Ties in Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 8089, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8089
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    Cited by:

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    2. Battiston, Diego, 2018. "The Persistent Effects of Brief Interactions: Evidence from Immigrant Ships," MPRA Paper 97151, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Ha, Wei & Yi, Junjian & Yuan, Ye & Zhang, Junsen, 2016. "The dynamic effect of rural-to-urban migration on inequality in source villages: System GMM estimates from rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 27-39.
    4. Manchin, Miriam & Orazbayev, Sultan, 2018. "Social networks and the intention to migrate," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 360-374.
    5. Eva-Maria Egger & Julie Litchfield, 2019. "Following in their footsteps: an analysis of the impact of successive migration on rural household welfare in Ghana," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 9(1), pages 1-22, December.
    6. Bosker, Maarten & Deichmann, Uwe & Roberts, Mark, 2018. "Hukou and highways the impact of China's spatial development policies on urbanization and regional inequality," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 91-109.
    7. Chuhong Wang & Xingfei Liu & Zizhong Yan, 2021. "Temporary versus permanent migration: The impact on expenditure patterns of households left behind," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 873-911, September.
    8. Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2017. "The role of social networks in cultural assimilation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 15-39.
    9. Moreno Galbis, Eva & Wolff, Francois-Charles & Herault, Arnaud, 2020. "How helpful are social networks in finding a job along the economic cycle? Evidence from immigrants in France," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 12-32.
    10. Simone Bertoli & Ilse Ruyssen, 2018. "Networks and migrants’ intended destination," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 705-728.
    11. Guangliang Yang & Lixing Li & Shihe Fu, 2020. "Do rural migrants benefit from labor market agglomeration economies? Evidence from Chinese cities," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 910-931, September.
    12. Eva Moreno-Galbis, 2020. "Minimum wage and immigrants' participation in the welfare system: evidence from France," AMSE Working Papers 2020, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    13. Fang, Tony & Gunderson, Morley & Lin, Carl, 2016. "The use and impact of job search procedures by migrant workers in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 154-165.
    14. Cai, Yongyang & Selod, Harris & Steinbuks, Jevgenijs, 2018. "Urbanization and land property rights," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 246-257.
    15. Gildas Kadoukpè Magbondé, 2021. "How Sub-Saharan African Countries Students Choose Where to Study Abroad: The Case of Benin," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 9(1), pages 278-287.
    16. K. A. Bondarenko, 2021. "Labor Migration From Uzbekistan: a Family and Community Promoted Big Bang," Regional Research of Russia, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 273-284, April.
    17. Büchel, Konstantin & Ehrlich, Maximilian V. & Puga, Diego & Viladecans-Marsal, Elisabet, 2020. "Calling from the outside: The role of networks in residential mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    18. Zhao, Jianmei, 2018. "Internet access and rural household income in China," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274178, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    19. Bredtmann, Julia & Nowotny, Klaus & Otten, Sebastian, 2020. "Linguistic distance, networks and migrants’ regional location choice," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    20. Beine, Michel & Bertinelli, Luisito & Cömertpay, Rana & Litina, Anastasia & Maystadt, Jean-François, 2021. "A gravity analysis of refugee mobility using mobile phone data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    21. Brueckner, Jan K. & Lall, Somik V., 2015. "Cities in Developing Countries," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 1399-1455, Elsevier.
    22. Mounir Karadja & Erik Prawitz, 2019. "Exit, Voice, and Political Change: Evidence from Swedish Mass Migration to the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1864-1925.
    23. Michel Beine, 2016. "The role of networks for migration flows: an update," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(7), pages 1154-1171, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social networks; internal migration; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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