Rural-Urban Migration and Employment Quality: A Case Study from Thailand
23 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2012
Date Written: June 2012
This study investigates the effects of rural-urban migration on economic development in Thailand. It draws upon a panel database of 2,000 rural households collected from 2008 to 2010 in three provinces from Northeast Thailand and a survey of 650 migrants in the Greater Bangkok area conducted in 2010. The study offers some new findings on migration in Thailand. First, there is evidence that there is a need for better social protection for urban migrants. Second, the study shows that migration offers the benefit of income growth for rural households but is less effective in reducing inequality and relative poverty in rural areas. Generally, migrants are more educated albeit at an overall low education level in the rural areas. The message emerging from this paper is that poor rural households tend to produce poor migrants which could be one of the reasons for the continuous existence of a wide rural-urban divide in welfare. The crucial importance of good quality education for migrants to achieve higher quality employment calls for more investment in education quality in rural areas.
Keywords: agriculture, wages, migrants, income, urban migrants, rural-urban migration, rural households, urban-rural divide, employment quality, education quality, urbanization, industrialization, effect of migration, special economic zones, foreign direct investment, productivity growth, nonfarm employment
JEL Classification: O15, O53, I3, J81
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