04 Feb 2013

Patterns and Determinants of Off-Farm Migration: Transfer frictions and persistency of relative income gaps

Alessandro Olper / Valentina Raimondi / Danilo Bertoni / Daniele Cavicchioli

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The inter-sectoral migration of agricultural labour is a complex but fundamental process of economic development largely affected by the growth of agricultural productivity and the evolution of the agricultural relative income gap. Theory and some recent anecdotal evidence suggest that as an effect of large fixed and sunk costs of out-farm migration, the productivity gap between the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors should behave non-monotonically or following a U-shaped evolution during economic development. Whether or not this relationship holds true across a sample of 38 developing and developed countries and across more than 200 EU regions was empirically tested. Results strongly confirm this relationship, which also emphasises the role played by national agricultural policy.