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Does information on regional income differentials change migration intentions? A survey experiment in multiple African countries

The relationship between income and migration is key to understand how development assistance affects migration. Poverty and low labor market prospects can induce people to seek opportunities in more promising domestic or international locations, but limited resources may also inhibit costly migration. Aligned with these theoretical considerations, the macro-level relationship between income and migration appears to trace an inverted U, but little experimental evidence concerning this relationship exists at the individual level.

This project contributes to the debate by investigating the relationship between individuals’ income expectations and their migration intentions in the contexts of Uganda and Ghana. Specifically, we study whether information on regional wage differentials affects domestic migration intentions and choices. The information treatment is embedded in surveys of participants in employment and income promoting programs in Ghana and Uganda. We randomly assign participants to an information treatment group and a no-intervention control group. In Ghana, treatment group participants are shown a map of the country’s regions, which depicts the monthly per capita income in each region. In Uganda, treatment group participants are told how much the monthly median wage is in each region and how this compares to the monthly median wage in their own region of residence. Our two primary outcomes are the extent to which participants would like to move to another domestic region and their destination choices. Follow-up surveys may enable us to analyze migration choices as well.


Currently there are no publications available for this project

Project start:
01. June 2021

Project end:
31. May 2023

Project staff:
Dr. Cara Ebert, Bernd Beber PhD, Sarah Frohnweiler