Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 4
This study investigates the effects of rural urban migration on economic development in Thailand. It draws upon a panel data base of some 2000 rural households collected from 2007 to 2010 in three provinces from Northeast Thailand and migrant survey of some 650 migrants in the Greater Bangkok area conducted in 2010. The study offers some new findings on migration in Thailand. First there is evidence that the widely praised social protection policies for the rural poor in Thailand may be less effective for urban migrants. Second, the study shows that migration has benefits for income growth of rural households but is less effective in reducing inequality and relative poverty in rural areas. Generally the less favored rural households tend to have migrants who are more educated albeit at an overall low education level of the rural population in Thailand. The overall message which emerges from this paper is that poor rural households tend to produce poor migrants which could be one of the reasons for the continuous existence of a wide rural urban divide in welfare. The crucial importance of education for migration success calls for more investment in secondary education in rural areas.