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Cash transfers and migration: theory and evidence from a randomized controlled trial

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  • Jules Gazeaud
  • Eric Mvukiyehe
  • Olivier Sterck

Abstract

Will the fast expansion of cash-based programming in developing countries increase international migration? Theoretically, cash transfers may favor international migration by relaxing liquidity, credit, and risk constraints. But transfers, especially those conditional upon staying at home, may also increase the opportunity cost of migrating abroad. This paper evaluates the impact of a cash-for-work program on migration. Randomly selected households in Comoros were offered up to US$320 in cash in exchange for their participation in public works projects. We find that the program increased migration to Mayotte – the neighboring and richer French Island – by 38 percent, from 7.8% to 10.8%. The increase in migration is explained by the alleviation of liquidity and risk constraints, and by the fact that the program did not increase the opportunity cost of migration for likely migrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Jules Gazeaud & Eric Mvukiyehe & Olivier Sterck, 2020. "Cash transfers and migration: theory and evidence from a randomized controlled trial," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2004, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
  • Handle: RePEc:unl:novafr:wp2004
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    Cited by:

    1. Clemens, Michael A. & Mendola, Mariapia, 2020. "Migration from Developing Countries: Selection, Income Elasticity, and Simpson's Paradox," IZA Discussion Papers 13612, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Jules Gazeaud & Victor Stephane, 2020. "Productive Workfare? Evidence from Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program," Working Papers 2037, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    3. Martinez Flores, Fernanda & Milusheva, Sveta & Reichert, Arndt R., 2021. "Climate anomalies and international migration: A disaggregated analysis for West Africa," Ruhr Economic Papers 910, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; cash transfers; financial constraints; risk-aversion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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