Intra-Rural Migration in Tanzania and Pathways of Welfare Change

Migration between rural locations is prevalent in many developing countries and has been found to improve economic well-being in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper explores the pathways through which intra-rural migration affects welfare in rural Tanzania. Specifically, we investigate whether such migration enables migrants to access more land, higher quality land, or greater off-farm income generating opportunities that may, in turn, translate into improved welfare. Drawing on a longitudinal data set that tracks migrants to their destinations, we employ a difference-in-differences approach, validated with a multinomial treatment effects model, and find that migration confers a benefit in consumption to migrants. Results do not indicate that this advantage is derived from larger farms, though intra-rural migrants to more densely populated areas do seem to achieve more productive farmland at their destinations. Across all destinations, migrants are more likely to draw from off-farm and non-farm income sources, suggesting that even intra-rural migration represents a shift away from agriculture, and this is likely the dominant channel through which migrants benefit. We conclude that intra-rural migration merits greater attention in the discourse on rural development and structural transformation.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
G61; I32; O15; Q15
Series Statement:
AAEA Meeting 2016

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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