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Migration in a model of occupational choice

Sahana Roy Chowdhury (Economic Research Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India)

Indian Growth and Development Review

ISSN: 1753-8254

Article publication date: 18 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a theoretical explanation for the empirical observation that the relative migration of unskilled (skilled) labor tends to occur from developing economies that are relatively unequal (equal).

Design/methodology/approach

Wealth inequality is related with migration incentives of skilled and unskilled labor in a model of occupational choice using a two‐period overlapping generations framework.

Findings

It is shown that high inequality creates a disincentive to migrate for skilled labor. Too much equality however creates a disincentive to migrate for unskilled labor. Thus, a highly unequal (equal) economy sustains unskilled (skilled) labor migration only.

Originality/value

Relative to the existing theoretical literature on migration, the distinguishing feature of this model is that it has entrepreneurship as an alternative occupational choice. This implies that the incentive to migrate is not affected solely by wage differentials across countries. It is shown that in a highly unequal developing economy there is no skilled migration – despite the gap between the skilled wage of the source economy and that of the foreign economy – in equilibrium.

Keywords

Citation

Roy Chowdhury, S. (2008), "Migration in a model of occupational choice", Indian Growth and Development Review, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 84-94. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538250810868143

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited