Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 21
This study disentangles the effects of feelings of relative deprivation and the capability of households in realizing their migration aspirations. For this purpose we decompose the concept of relative deprivation into intra-group and inter-group relative deprivation and test their relative importance together with levels of absolute deprivation in shaping migration decisions on a household level. The migration decision itself is modelled as a two stage process which allows separating the decision on whether to migrate at all, and the decision where to migrate in terms of an internal or international destination. This study concentrates on migration in contemporary India, a country with about 20 million Indians living abroad and around 180 million people enumerated as internal migrants. The empirical analysis is based on a unique dataset based on the recent 64th round of the Indian National Sample Survey (NSS). This large dataset covers around 125,000 households and about 100,000 former household members enumerated as out-migrants. We hypothesize that feelings of relative deprivation have different effects on the choice of destination when controlled for alternative reference groups and group identifications. We identify the following factors as relevant in this migration decision-making process: First, intra-group as well as inter-group relative deprivations are strong predictors only for short distance intra-state movements. On contrary, the likelihood of out-migration towards international destinations is significantly lower for households with lower levels of intra-group and inter-group relative deprivation. Second, besides the effects of relative deprivation, absolute deprivation plays an ambivalent role: while economically better endowed households have a higher migration propensity to send (primarily male) migrants to distant inter-state and international destinations, the inverse is true for moves of shorter distance that are mainly dominated by (female) migrants stemming from poorer households.
Relative deprivation internal and international migration India