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Connecting lagging and leading regions: the role of labor mobility

Somik Lall, Christopher Timmins and Shouyue Yu

No 4843, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: How can policies improve the welfare of people in economically lagging regions of countries? Should policies help jobs follow people? Or should they enable people to follow jobs? In most countries, market forces have encouraged the geographic concentration of people and economic activities - policies that try to offset these forces to encourage balanced economic growth have largely been unsuccessful. However, policies that help people get closer to economic density have improved individual welfare. In this paper, the authors examine the migration decisions of working-age Brazilians and find that the pull of higher wages in leading regions has a strong influence on the decision to migrate. However, many people are also"pushed"to migrate, starved of access to basic public services such as clean water and sanitation in their hometowns. Although migration is welfare-improving for these individuals, the economy may end up worse off as these migrants are more likely to add to congestion costs in cities than to contribute to agglomeration benefits. Encouraging human capital formation can stimulate labor mobility for economic gain; and improving access to and quality of basic services in lagging regions will directly improve welfare as well as reduce the type of migration motivated by the search for life-supporting basic services.

Keywords: Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Population Policies; Banks&Banking Reform; Labor Policies; Access to Finance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev, nep-geo, nep-lab, nep-mig and nep-ure
Date: 2009-02-01
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7) Track citations by RSS feed

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