Yeah, yeah, I’m a bit of a migration-policy-radical, open our borders and all that. But it isn’t even just international migration which is important for poverty reduction. A new paper by Kathleen Beegle, Joachim De Weerdt, and Stefan Dercon finds that even within Tanzania “migration adds 36 percentage points to consumption growth.”
Economic mobility is strongly linked to geographic mobility. The puzzle is why more people do not move if returns to geographic mobility are high.
Furthermore, the further you go, the greater the gains. The following chart shows the gains in consumption between 1991 and 2004 for people moving within their community, to a nearby community, to a slightly further community, or to a different district altogether. The gains are far higher for people moving out of their home district to elsewhere in Tanzania.