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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Temporary and Permanent Migrant Selection: The Role of Ability, Wage Expectations, and Familial Networks

(with Katrina Kosec and Valerie Mueller)

In this paper, we investigate what drives temporary versus permanent internal migration using a unique panel survey of rural households in Pakistan spanning 27 years (1986-2013). The economics literature largely fails to distinguish temporary and permanent migrants, and rather consolidates them into a single category. However, temporary migrants typically retain direct decision-making power within the origin household. This non-monetary linkage is likely to influence a broad spectrum of allocation decisions, ranging from saving and investment to children’s education and occupational choice. Moreover, given this linkage, permanent and temporary migrants likely have disparate motives for migrating—resulting in differing degrees of responsiveness to economic and social conditions, and different patterns of selection. We model migrant selection using a linear probability model with separate regressions for permanent and temporary migration. We incorporate village and time fixed effects and current and historical markers of labor market potential, including ability, skills, and work experience.

Publication type: 
Working paper
Date published: 
Monday, January 11, 2016