Does internal migration improve overall well-being in Ethiopia?

Alan de Brauw, Valerie Mueller, and Tassew Woldehanna 
International Food Policy Research Institute/ Ethiopian Development Research Institute 

Standard economic models suggest that individuals participate in migration to improve their well-being, whether those decisions are made at the individual or the household level. However, explicit and implicit barriers to movement both within and between countries can hinder migration, potentially affecting welfare improvement. In this paper, we use a unique panel dataset of tracked migrants and non-migrants that originate from 18 villages in Ethiopia to examine the welfare impacts of internal migration. Using a number of techniques and various objective and subjective measures, we measure the impacts of migration on the welfare of migrants versus non-migrants. We find large gains to objective welfare measures such as consumption, around 110 percent. Gains are larger among male and urban migrants. However, we also find that relative to household heads subjective welfare measures are similar for migrants. The large welfare gains to migration suggest that barriers exist, even within countries such as Ethiopia, against the free movement of people to places where they would be objectively better off.

Publication date: 
1 Juin, 2013 
Source / Citation: 

de Brauw, A., V. Mueller, and T. Woldehanna. "Does internal migration improve overall well-being in Ethiopia?" IFPRI/EDRI/ESSP Working Paper No. 55, June 2013.