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Keepin' 'em Down on the Farm: Migration and Strategic Investment in Children's Schooling

Listed author(s):
  • Robert Jensen
  • Nolan H. Miller
Registered author(s):

    In rural areas of most developing countries, intergenerational coresidence is both widespread and an important determinant of well-being for the elderly. Most parents want at least one adult child to remain at home (e.g., so they can work on the family farm or provide care and assistance around the house). However, children themselves may prefer to migrate when they grow up, and parents cannot directly prevent them from doing so. We present a model where parents may strategically limit investments in some children's education so that they will not find it optimal to migrate when they reach maturity, and will thus voluntarily choose to remain home. We provide evidence for the model’s predictions using an intervention that provided recruiting services for the business process outsourcing industry in randomly selected rural Indian villages. Because awareness of these high-paying, high education, urban jobs was limited at baseline, the intervention increased the attractiveness of migration for educated children. Consistent with the model, in response to the treatment we find declines in school enrollment among children that parents reported wanting to remain home at baseline. Children that parents want to migrate have increased enrollment, and parents want more children to migrate.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23122.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23122.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2017
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23122
    Note: CH DEV ED LS
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    1. Aaron S. Edlin and Chris Shannon., 1995. "Strict Monotonicity in Comparative Statics," Economics Working Papers 95-238, University of California at Berkeley.
    2. Milgrom, P. & Shannon, C., 1991. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Papers 11, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
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