Intra-rural Migration and Pathways to Greater Well-being: Evidence from Tanzania

Ayala Wineman and Thomas S. Jayne. 2017. Intra-rural Migration and Pathways to Greater Well-being: Evidence from Tanzania. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Paper 60. East Lansing: Michigan State University.

Migration between rural locations is prevalent in developing countries and has been found to improve economic well-being in Sub-Saharan Africa. This article explores the pathways through which intra-rural migration affects well-being in rural Tanzania. Specifically, we investigate whether such migration enables migrants to access more land, higher quality land, or greater off-farm income generating opportunities that may, in turn, translate into improved well-being. Drawing on a longitudinal data set that tracks migrants to their destinations, we employ a difference-in-differences approach, validated with a multinomial treatment effects model, and find that migration confers a benefit in consumption to migrants. Results do not indicate that this advantage is derived from larger farms or, generally, from more productive farmland. However, across all destinations, migrants are more likely to draw from off-farm or nonfarm income sources, suggesting that even intra-rural migration represents a shift away from a reliance on farm production, and this is likely the dominant channel through which migrants benefit. We conclude that intra-rural migration merits greater attention in the discourse on rural development and structural transformation.

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