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Who is an internal migrant?

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  • Sharma, Rasadhika
  • Grote, Ulrike

Abstract

There is no internationally accepted definition of an internal migrant. Different surveys and academic papers use varied definitions that are open to subjectivity. Our paper stresses this issue and tests the sensitivity of results obtained by econometric analysis to the use of different defining criterion. Using four definitions of an internal migrant based on aspects of varied time intervals, purpose of migration and geographical shifts, we examine the determinants of the migration decision and the impact of migration on the household’s income. We employ Probit modelling and difference-in-difference Probability Score Matching to estimate the two questions, respectively. We find that a change in definition alters the target sample and therefore induces identification errors. In case of determinants, the magnitude and significance of variables capturing human and social capital, socio-demography and wealth of the household change across the four definitions. Additionally, having a migrant, increases the household’s income under two definitions, while negatively impacting the household’s income under the other two definitions. Therefore, it is pertinent to standardize the definition of an internal migrant before assessing the impact of migration. Our paper aims to bring this issue to the attention of international organizations and future researchers who work in the area of migration. It advocates for a standardized definition by proposing basic guidelines.

Suggested Citation

  • Sharma, Rasadhika & Grote, Ulrike, 2019. "Who is an internal migrant?," TVSEP Working Papers wp-013, Leibniz Universitaet Hannover, Institute of Development and Agricultural Economics, Project TVSEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:tvs:wpaper:wp-013
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    File URL: http://wp-tvsep.ifgb.uni-hannover.de/RePEc/tvs/pdfbib/wp-013.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sharma, Rasadhika & Grote, Ulrike, 2018. "Who remits and why? Evidence on internal migrant remittances from Vietnam and Thailand," TVSEP Working Papers wp-009, Leibniz Universitaet Hannover, Institute of Development and Agricultural Economics, Project TVSEP.
    2. Nguyen, Loc Duc & Raabe, Katharina & Grote, Ulrike, 2015. "Rural–Urban Migration, Household Vulnerability, and Welfare in Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 79-93.
    3. Blessing Mberu, 2006. "Internal migration and household living conditions in Ethiopia," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 14(21), pages 509-540.
    4. Phan, Diep & Coxhead, Ian, 2016. "Rural-Urban Migration and Remittances in Vietnam Evidence from Migrant Tracer Data," Staff Paper Series 581, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
    5. Andersson, L., 2014. "Migration, remittances and household welfare in Ethiopia," MERIT Working Papers 2014-004, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    6. André Gröger & Yanos Zylberberg, 2016. "Internal Labor Migration as a Shock Coping Strategy: Evidence from a Typhoon," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 123-153, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bierkamp, Sina & Nguyen, Trung Thanh & Grote, Ulrike, 2021. "Environmental income and remittances: Evidence from rural central highlands of Vietnam," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 179(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internal migration; Internal migrant; Vietnam; Measurement;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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