The effect of instability in returns to agriculture on patterns of rural to urban migration in Ethiopia
Jagalur, Pavan Kumar.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. Modern economies are recognized by the extent of urbanization and the reallocation of labor from farm work to non-farm endeavors. The very objective of economic modernization and development, in fact, is predicated on the desire to expand the scope of people's capabilities so that men and women may achieve their greatest potential rather than spending their lives in toil and drudgery. Fostering the reallocation of labor from arduous farm work to more capital intensive and variegated industries, therefore, is the key to expanding people's opportunities. Rural to urban migration is often analogized as a manifestation of said reallocation and there is a vast body of literature attempting to examine how these migration decisions are made to curb and control urban unemployment, to manage the strain on public services, and to increase the amount of labor available for industry and trade. This study seeks to supplement the dominant theoretical models of rural to urban migration--which focus on those factors that pull migrants into the city--by empirically examining how the uncertainty of agricultural incomes due to the instability of crop yields and prices can push people out of the countryside. Using data from an IFPRI Integrated Household Survey of Ethiopia it is observed that among the poorest households uncertainty has no significant effect on migration patterns and migration is driven instead, by a household member's ability to mitigate the financial, emotional, and psychological costs of migrating.
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