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Strong Versus Weak Ties in Migration

46 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2014  

Corrado Giulietti

Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jackline Wahba

University of Southampton - Division of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Yves Zenou

Stockholm University; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: November 2014

Abstract

This paper studies the role of strong versus weak ties in the rural-to-urban migration decision in China. We first develop a network model that puts forward the different roles of weak and strong ties in helping workers to migrate to the city. We then use a unique longitudinal data that allows us to test our model by focusing on first-time migration. Strong ties are measured by the closest family contact (excluding household members) while weak ties are determined by the fraction of migrants from the village in which the individual resides. We address the endogeneity of the network formation in the migration decision. Our results indicate that both weak and strong ties matter in the migration decision process, although the impact of weak ties is higher than that of strong ties. We also show that one underestimates the effect of social networks on migration by not taking into account the strong ties in the mobility process. We finally find that weak and strong ties act as complements in the migration decision, which indicates that the interactive effect between weak and strong ties is particularly strong above a certain threshold of the size of weak ties.

Keywords: China, internal migration, social networks

JEL Classification: J61, O15

Suggested Citation

Giulietti, Corrado and Wahba, Jackline and Zenou, Yves, Strong Versus Weak Ties in Migration (November 2014). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10248. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2526361

Corrado Giulietti (Contact Author)

Department of Economics ( email )

University Rd.
Southampton SO17 1BJ, Hampshire SO17 1LP
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Jackline Wahba

University of Southampton - Division of Economics ( email )

Southampton, SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom
+44 23 8059 3996 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/jackiewahba/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Yves Zenou

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI) ( email )

P.O. Box 5501
S-114 85 Stockholm
Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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