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Strong versus Weak Ties in Migration

  • Giulietti, Corrado

    ()

    (IZA)

  • Wahba, Jackline

    ()

    (University of Southampton)

  • Zenou, Yves

    ()

    (Stockholm University)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8089.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8089
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  1. Mehtap Akgüç & Corrado Giulietti & Klaus Zimmermann, 2014. "The RUMiC longitudinal survey: fostering research on labor markets in China," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 1-14, December.
  2. Michel Beine & Christopher Parsons, 2012. "Climatic factors as determinants of International Migration," CREA Discussion Paper Series 12-01, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  3. Long, Wenjin & Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina, 2013. "Job Contact Networks and Wages of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," IZA Discussion Papers 7577, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Wahba, Jackline & Zenou, Yves, 2009. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Migration, Entrepreneurship and Social Capital," IZA Discussion Papers 4541, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Sarah Dolfin & Garance Genicot, 2010. "What Do Networks Do? The Role of Networks on Migration and "Coyote" Use," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 343-359, 05.
  6. Simone Bertoli & Jesus Fernández-Huertas Moraga, 2012. "Visa Policies, Networks and the Cliff at the Border," Working Papers 2012-12, FEDEA.
  7. Yannis M. Ioannides, 2012. "From Neighborhoods to Nations: The Economics of Social Interactions," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 9892, April.
  8. John Giles & Kyeongwon Yoo, 2007. "Precautionary Behavior, Migrant Networks, and Household Consumption Decisions: An Empirical Analysis Using Household Panel Data from Rural China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 534-551, August.
  9. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2002. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects and Inequality," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0217, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  10. Wahba, Jackline & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Density, Social Networks and Job Search Methods: Theory and Application to Egypt," CEPR Discussion Papers 3967, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2004. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working papers 2004-07, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2005.
  12. Topa, Giorgio, 1997. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Working Papers 97-17, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  13. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2000. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," Working Papers 0005, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  14. Lee, Lung-fei, 2007. "Identification and estimation of econometric models with group interactions, contextual factors and fixed effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 333-374, October.
  15. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2007. "Self-selection patterns in Mexico-U.S. migration: The role of migration networks," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0701, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  16. David Mckenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2004. "Network Effects and the Dynamics of Migration and Inequality: Theory and Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers 2004-3, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  17. Yaohui Zhao, 2003. "The Role of Migrant Networks in Labor Migration: The Case of China," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(4), pages 500-511, October.
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