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Relative deprivation and migration : theory, evidence, and policy implications

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  • Stark, Oded
  • Taylor, J. Edward

Abstract

The authors examine the importance of absolute income and relative deprivation incentives for internal and international migration in developing country households. Empirical results, based on Mexican village data, support the hypothesis that households'relative deprivation in the village reference group is significant in explaining migration by household members to destinations where a reference group substitution is unlikely and the returns to migrations are high. Independent of relative deprivation, village households wisely pair their members with the labor markets in which the returns to their human capital are likely to be greatest. The results suggest that a specific type of migration constitutes a response to a specific configuration of variables, and the role of relative deprivation appears to differ for internal and international migration. Taking relative deprivation into account when studying migration is shown to have important implications for development policy. For example, economic development that does not redress intravillage income inequalities may become associated with more migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Stark, Oded & Taylor, J. Edward, 1991. "Relative deprivation and migration : theory, evidence, and policy implications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 656, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:656
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stark, Oded & Lucas, Robert E B, 1988. "Migration, Remittances, and the Family," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 465-481, April.
    2. Stark, Oded & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1988. "Labour Migration as a Response to Relative Deprivation," MPRA Paper 21670, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-918, October.
    4. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-926, August.
    5. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    6. Greene, William H, 1981. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 795-798, May.
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