The Winner Takes it All: Internal Migration, Education and Wages in Ethiopia

26 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2015

See all articles by Niels-Hugo Blunch

Niels-Hugo Blunch

Washington and Lee University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi

World Bank


Previous studies of migration have mainly examined international dynamics. Yet, internal migration is an important issue, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using the 2001 Ethiopia Child Labor Survey, a nationally representative household survey, this paper examines internal migration in Ethiopia, focusing on the linkages among internal migration, education and wages. The results suggest that migrants are better educated and obtain higher wages than non-migrants, controlling for other factors (including education), and also obtain higher returns to their education. In other words, the more educated reap higher returns from their education as a main effect, as well as higher returns to their education from migration than non-migrants – that is, "the winner takes it all." This result should be of concern to policy makers in Ethiopia and elsewhere – especially in Sub-Saharan Africa – since individuals with low levels of education already are in a vulnerable group. The study therefore also discusses the policy implications of these results.

Keywords: internal migration, wages, education, Ethiopia

JEL Classification: J24, J31, O15

Suggested Citation

Blunch, Niels-Hugo and Ruggeri Laderchi, Caterina, The Winner Takes it All: Internal Migration, Education and Wages in Ethiopia. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8926, Available at SSRN:

Niels-Hugo Blunch (Contact Author)

Washington and Lee University ( email )

Department of Economics
Lexington, VA 24450
United States


IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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