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Pennsylvania Convention Center, 104-A
American Economic Association
Sectoral Wage Gaps and the Returns to Migration
Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM
- Chair: Edward Miguel, University of California-Berkeley
The Gift of Moving: Intergenerational Consequences of a Mobility Shock
AbstractWe exploit a volcanic "experiment" to study the costs and benefits of geographic mobility. We show that moving costs (broadly defined) are very large and labor therefore does not flow to locations where it earns the highest returns. In our experiment, a third of the houses in a town were covered by lava. People living in these houses where much more likely to move away permanently. For those younger than 25 years old who were induced to move, the "lava shock" dramatically raised lifetime earnings and education. Yet, the benefits of moving were very unequally distributed within the family: Those older than 25 (the parents) were made slightly worse off by the shock. The town affected by our volcanic experiment was (and is) a relatively high income town. We interpret our findings as evidence of the importance of comparative advantage: the gains to moving may be very large for those badly matched to the location they happened to be born in, even if differences in average income are small.
Reevaluating Agricultural Productivity Gaps With Longitudinal Microdata
AbstractRecent research has pointed to large gaps in labor productivity between the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors in low-income countries, as well as between workers in rural and urban areas. Most estimates are based on national accounts or repeated cross-sections of micro-survey data, and as a result typically struggle to account for individual selection between sectors. This paper uses long-run individual-level panel data from two low-income countries (Indonesia and Kenya). Accounting for individual fixed effects leads to much smaller estimated productivity gains from moving into the non-agricultural sector (or urban areas), reducing estimated gaps by over 80%. Per capita consumption gaps are also small once individual fixed effects are included. Estimated productivity gaps do not emerge up to five years after a move between sectors. We evaluate whether these findings imply a re-assessment of the conventional wisdom regarding sectoral gaps, discuss how to reconcile them with existing cross-sectional estimates, and consider implications for the desirability of sectoral reallocation of labor.
The Agricultural Wage Gap: Evidence From Brazilian Micro-data
AbstractA key feature of developing economies is that wages in agriculture are significantly below those of other sectors. Using Brazilian household surveys and administrative panel data, I use information on workers who switch sectors to decompose this gap. I find that most of the gap is explained by differences in worker composition. The evidence speaks against the existence of large short-term gains from reallocating workers out of agriculture and favors recently proposed Roy models of inter-sector sorting. A calibrated sorting model can account for the wage gap level observed and its decline as the economy transitioned out of agriculture.
University of California-Berkeley
- O4 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
- J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers