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Construction labour migrants and wage inequality in Kerala

Jajati K. Parida (), Merry Elizabeth John and Justin Sunny
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Jajati K. Parida: Central University of Punjab
Merry Elizabeth John: University of Limerick

Journal of Social and Economic Development, 2020, vol. 22, issue 2, No 9, 414-442

Abstract: Abstract This study explores the patterns and determinants of construction-led migration and measures the existing wage differential between migrant and native workers in Kerala using both secondary and primary data. While secondary data were compiled from Census and NSS migration surveys, primary data were collected from three districts of Kerala using a stratified random sampling method. It is found that the pattern of internal migration is changing in Kerala with a declining share of migrants from neighbouring states, along with the corresponding upsurge in the inflows from far-off states like West Bengal, Assam and Bihar. Though poverty and rising unemployment at the place of origin are the pushing factors, relatively higher wages and availability of employment throughout the years are the main pulling factors of in-migration to Kerala. Since a higher proportion of remittance is spent on basic necessities like food, clothing and housing consumptions, it has positive implication on poverty reduction at the origin states. However, it is noted that migrant workers, on the average, earn less than their non-migrants counterparts in Kerala. Given the importance of these low-skilled migrants in sustaining the long-term economic growth in Kerala, their poor and unhygienic living arrangements should also attract the attention of the policy makers.

Keywords: In-migration; Construction sector; Wage differentials (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J31 L74 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s40847-020-00104-2

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