Economists have long thought of dual economies, one rural, agricultural and one urban, non-agricultural. Development then entails the permanent movement of households out of agriculture into non-agriculture. More recently, there is considerable evidence suggesting that labour migration from South Asian villages is not only common but also temporary and for short periods of time.
The paper discusses results from new survey data that helps illuminate how Indian rural, agricultural households take advantage of urban, non-agricultural employment opportunities through short-term migration. The sample comprises 700 households based in 70 villages in rural Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. The data also includes in-depth interviews with 2,224 adults in these households to learn about their migration histories. The data suggest that short-term migration is an important and repeated income-generating strategy in this population, is almost universal among young men, and is extremely common among young women. Migration is costly in the deprivation experienced while working away from home, but seems to carry little risk of not finding work in urban spot labour markets, which pays high wages compared to less common labour work near the village. Besides detailing the migration experience of the surveyed adults, the work stresses the changes in the nature of migration since the 1990s. The dataset is also unique in exploring the experiences of children who migrate, and of those left behind while their parents migrate.
Date: September 23, 2011
Time: 11:00 A.M.
NCAER Conference Room
National Council of Applied Economic Research
Parisila Bhawan, 11, Indraprastha Estate
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