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Inequality, the urban-rural gap, and migration

Young, Alwyn (2013) Inequality, the urban-rural gap, and migration. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128 (4). 1727`-1785. ISSN 0033-5533

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Identification Number: 10.1093/qje/qjt025

Abstract

Using population and product consumption data from the Demographic and Health Surveys, I construct comparable measures of inequality and migration for 65 countries, including some of the poorest countries in the world. I find that the urban-rural gap accounts for 40% of mean country inequality and much of its cross-country variation. One out of every four or five individuals raised in rural areas moves to urban areas as a young adult, where they earn much higher incomes than nonmigrant rural permanent residents. Equally, one out of every four or five individuals raised in urban areas moves to rural areas as a young adult, where they earn much lower incomes than their nonmigrant urban cousins. These flows and relative incomes are suggestive of a world where the population sorts itself geographically on the basis of its human capital and skill. I show that a simple model of this sort explains the urban-rural gap in living standards.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://qje.oxfordjournals.org/
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
JEL classification: O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O18 - Regional, Urban, and Rural Analyses
Sets: Departments > Economics
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2013 10:48
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 01:44
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/46872

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