Migration Selectivity and the Evolution of Spatial Inequality

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Ravi Kanbur

Ravi Kanbur

Cornell University; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Hillel Rapoport

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics; Stanford University

Date Written: January 2005

Abstract

Standard models of labor migration suggest that migration is induced by real income differentials across locations and will, ceteris paribus, serve to reduce those differentials. And yet there is evidence that growing spatial inequality may co-exist with increased migration from poorer to richer areas, at least over certain ranges. At a theoretical level, this raises the question of modeling opposing forces, for convergence and divergence, in a common framework, and identifying the precise conditions under which the tendency for convergence dominates, or is dominated by, the forces for divergence. A conventional route to introducing forces for divergence is to bring agglomeration effects into the standard setup. This paper explores an alternative route, based on a theoretical and empirical proposition of the migration literature, namely, that migration is a selective process. Focusing on skilled migration, the paper demonstrates the different forces in play that make selective migration a force for both divergence and convergence, and characterizes where each set of forces dominates. Finally, it explores the consequences for convergence of combining migration selectivity and agglomeration effects arising from migrant networks.

JEL Classification: F22, J24, O15

Suggested Citation

Kanbur, Ravi and Rapoport, Hillel, Migration Selectivity and the Evolution of Spatial Inequality (January 2005). Journal of Economic Geography, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp. 43-57, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=917690

Ravi Kanbur (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

301-J Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-7966 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kanbur.dyson.cornell.edu

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Hillel Rapoport

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics ( email )

Ramat-Gan, 52900
Israel
+972 3 535 3180 (Fax)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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