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Migration for degrading work as an escape from humiliation

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  • Stark, Oded
  • Fan, C. Simon

Abstract

This paper develops a model of voluntary migration into degrading work. The essence of the model is a tension between two “bads:” that which arises from being relatively deprived at home, and that which arises from engaging in humiliating work away from home. Balancing between these two “bads” can give rise to an explicit, voluntary choice to engage in humiliating work. The paper identifies conditions under which a migrant will choose to engage in degrading work rather than being forced into it, to work abroad as a prostitute, say, rather than on a farm. The paper delineates the possible equilibria and finds that greater relative deprivation will make it more likely that the equilibrium outcome will be “engagement in prostitution.” It is shown that under well specified conditions, every individual will work as a prostitute, yet every individual would be better off working on a farm. Put differently, when specific conditions are satisfied, there is a possibility of a “coordination failure:” if individuals believe that everyone else will choose to be a prostitute, this belief will be self-fulfilling. In this case, all the individuals choose to engage in prostitution, which renders each of them worse off. The paper discusses various policy implications. It is shown that a policy intervention (a crackdown on migrants’ engagement in prostitution), if implemented strictly, can increase everyone’s welfare, but when the policy is implemented loosely, cracking down on prostitution will only reduce individuals’ welfare without reducing their engagement in prostitution.

Suggested Citation

  • Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2010. "Migration for degrading work as an escape from humiliation," MPRA Paper 28905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28905
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    13. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward, 1991. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role of Relative Deprivation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1163-1178, September.
    14. Stark, Oded & Micevska, Maja & Mycielski, Jerzy, 2009. "Relative poverty as a determinant of migration: Evidence from Poland," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 119-122, June.
    15. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
    16. Nripesh Podder, 1996. "Relative Deprivation, Envy and Economic Inequality," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 353-376, August.
    17. C. Simon Fan & Oded Stark, 2011. "A Theory Of Migration As A Response To Occupational Stigma," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(2), pages 549-571, May.
    18. Stark, Oded, 1984. "Rural-to-Urban Migration in LDCs: A Relative Deprivation Approach," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(3), pages 475-486, April.
    19. Stark, Oded & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1988. "Labour Migration as a Response to Relative Deprivation," MPRA Paper 21670, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Oded Stark & J. Taylor, 1989. "Relative deprivation and international migration oded stark," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(1), pages 1-14, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Oded Stark & Marcin Jakubek & Krzysztof Szczygielski, 2020. "The social preferences of the native inhabitants, and the decision how many asylum seekers to admit," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 156(1), pages 133-152, February.
    2. Oded Stark & Marcin Jakubek, 2016. "Can a Concern for Status Reconcile Diverse Social Welfare Programs?," Research on Economic Inequality, in: Inequality after the 20th Century: Papers from the Sixth ECINEQ Meeting, volume 24, pages 235-246, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
    3. Stark, Oded & Zawojska, Ewa & Kohler, Wilhelm & Szczygielski, Krzysztof, 2018. "An adverse social welfare effect of a doubly gainful trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 77-84.
    4. Oded Stark & Franz Rendl & Marcin Jakubek, 2012. "The merger of populations, the incidence of marriages, and aggregate unhappiness," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 331-344, April.
    5. Stark, Oded, 2015. "Comparing the Global and Merged with the Local and Separate: On a Downside to the Integration of Regions and Nations," East Asian Economic Review, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, vol. 19(4), pages 325-355, December.
    6. Stark, Oded & Kobus, Martyna & Jakubek, Marcin, 2012. "A concern about low relative income, and the alignment of utilitarianism with egalitarianism," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(3), pages 235-238.
    7. Falkowski, Jan, 2013. "Does it matter how much land your neighbour owns? The functioning of land markets in Poland from a social comparison perspective," Factor Markets Working Papers 171, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    8. Stark, Oded, 2013. "Stressful Integration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-9.
    9. Oded Stark & Ewa Zawojska, 2016. "Will a government find it financially easier to neutralize a looming protest if more groups are involved?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 435-450, December.
    10. Stark, Oded, 2012. "Integration, social distress, and policy formation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 318-321.
    11. Sorger, Gerhard & Stark, Oded, 2013. "Income redistribution going awry: The reversal power of the concern for relative deprivation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 1-9.
    12. Oded Stark & Fryderyk Falniowski & Marcin Jakubek, 2017. "Consensus Income Distribution," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 63(4), pages 899-911, December.
    13. Oded Stark, 2017. "Migration when Social Preferences are Ordinal: Steady-state Population Distribution and Social Welfare," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(336), pages 647-666, October.
    14. Sonnabend, Hendrik, 2015. "Good Intentions and Unintended Evil? Clients’ Punishment in the Market for Sex Services with Voluntary and Involuntary Providers," EconStor Preprints 110682, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    15. Stark, Oded & Jakubek, Marcin & Falniowski, Fryderyk, 2014. "Reconciling the Rawlsian and the utilitarian approaches to the maximization of social welfare," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 439-444.
    16. Rémi Bazillier & Cristina Boboc, 2016. "Labour migration as a way to escape from employment vulnerability? Evidence from the European Union," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(16), pages 1149-1152, November.
    17. Rémi BAZILLIER & Cristina TRANDAS-BOBOC & Oana CALAVREZO, 2014. "Employment vulnerability in Europe: Is there a migration effect?," LEO Working Papers / DR LEO 1825, Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans.
    18. Sonnabend, Hendrik & Stadtmann, Georg, 2018. "Good intentions and unintended evil? Adverse effects of criminalizing clients in paid sex markets with voluntary and involuntary prostitution," Discussion Papers 400, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
    19. Czyżewski, Bazyli & Poczta-Wajda, Agnieszka, 2017. "Wpływ polityki i rynku na relatywną deprywację dochodową czynnika pracy w rolnictwie," Village and Agriculture (Wieś i Rolnictwo), Polish Academy of Sciences (IRWiR PAN), Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development, vol. 3(176).
    20. Stark, Oded, 2017. "Possible Policy Responses to a Dark Side of the Integration of Regions and Nations," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 329-341.
    21. Stark, Oded, 2012. "Policy responses to a dark side of the integration of regions," University of Tübingen Working Papers in Business and Economics 28, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, School of Business and Economics.
    22. Linguère Mbaye, 2014. "“Barcelona or die”: understanding illegal migration from Senegal," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-19, December.
    23. Magnus Hatlebakk, 2013. "Intergenerational determinants of occupational choice: The case of international labor migration from Nepal," CMI Working Papers 2, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
    24. Kaczmarczyk, Pawel & Tyrowicz, Joanna, 2015. "Winners and Losers among Skilled Migrants: The Case of Post-Accession Polish Migrants to the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 9057, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    25. Czyżewski, Bazyli & Poczta-Wajda, Agnieszka, 2016. "Effects of Policy and Market on Relative Income Deprivation of Agricultural Labour," 160th Seminar, December 1-2, 2016, Warsaw, Poland 249759, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migrants; Relative deprivation; Degrading work; Humiliation; Multiple equilibria; Welfare assessment; Policy implications;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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