Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Executive summary
 Review of relevant migration...
 Development activities in rural...
 Conclusions and implications

Group Title: Development activities and rural-urban migration : is it possible to keep them down on the farm?
Title: Development activities and rural-urban migration
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086816/00001
 Material Information
Title: Development activities and rural-urban migration is it possible to keep them down on the farm?
Physical Description: v, 78 p. : ; 27 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Rhoda, Richard Eric
United States -- Agency for International Development. -- Bureau for Development Support
United States -- Agency for International Development. -- Office of Urban Development
Publisher: Office of Urban Development, Bureau for Development Support, Agency for International Development
Place of Publication: Washington D.C
Publication Date: 1979
Subject: Rural-urban migration   ( lcsh )
Urbanization   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 69-78.
Statement of Responsibility: Richard E. Rhoda.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086816
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 09289923

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
        Title Page 3
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
        Page v
    Executive summary
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Review of relevant migration literature
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Development activities in rural areas and their impacts on rural-urban migration
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Conclusions and implications
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
Full Text

('1 C
3vt bt






March 1979


AID Contract Number: AID/otr-147-79-25

The views and interpretations in this publication are
those of the author and should not be attributed to
the Agency for International Development or to any
individual acting in its behalf.


Over the years there have been many changes in the focus of

development assistance programs. Some change is induced by previous

development efforts. Some of the shifts in direction and emphasis

are reflections of changed circumstances in donor and recipient coun-

tries alike. Indeed, some of this change is a result of increased

knowledge and understanding of the problems being addressed and of

the effects of various solution-seeking approaches.

For the past four or five years many development assistance

agencies have emphasized the rural aspects of the development pro-

cess, almost to the total exclusion of its urban dimensions. This

study examines one of the most frequent assertions about rural develop-

ment programs and about the changes they help to produce i.e., that

they can help retard or stop rural-to-urban migration. The inquiry is

posed provocatively in the study's subtitle: Is it possible to keep

them down on the farm?

Dr. Rhoda reviews the relevant literature on migration, including

the presentation of theoretical models and empirical studies, then looks

at nine different development activities in rural areas and their impacts

on rural-to-urban migration. He examines also the similar efforts of

international agencies. His conclusions are set forth clearly and con-

cisely, including also a useful table summarizing the "migration impli-

cations of specific development activities in rural areas." He concludes

his study by identifying important implications for development activ-

ities, project assessment and analysis, and future research.

This is another significant contribution which Dr. Rhoda has made

to the Agency and to the field of urban and regional development. His

earlier "Guidelines for Urban and Regional Analysis..." has been well

received and used widely; it is expected to be issued soon in a revised

form which will include several empirical case studies.

The Office of Urban Development is grateful to Dr. Rhoda for his

continuing interest in and for his willingness to use his considerable

talents to advance the state-of-the-art of development.


In the past, it generally has been assumed that develop-
ment activities in rural areas act to slow rural-urban migration.
Though the assumption is still widely accepted, scholars familiar
with development activities and migration in third world areas
have questioned the validity of this assumption. What is the
rural-urban migration impact of development activities in rural
areas? This issue is more complicated than previously believed.
In an attempt to clarify this issue, the Office of Urban Develop-
ment, Development Support Bureau, Agency for International Develop-
ment, sponsored the research which is reported herein. I hope
this report clarifies the issue by analyzing relevant literature
and exposing a number of popular misconceptions concerning the
assumption that development activities in rural areas slow rural-
urban migration. It is hoped that this exploratory study will
stimulate additional discussion and research on this important
I would like to thank William R. Miner and Eric Chetwynd, Jr.
of the Office of Urban Development for their valuable comments and
suggestions on all phases of the investigation from preliminary
outlines to final draft. I am also very grateful to Sally E.
Findley who made a very comprehensive and constructive critique
of the first draft of the report. Judy Gilmore and Jasper Ingersol
also provided valuable input to the investigation. Though this
work greatly benefitted from the comments and suggestions of
others, any opinions, conclusions or errors found in the report
are the sole responsibility of the author.

Richard Rhoda

Washington, D.C.
March 1979



.. *

PREFACE .. . . .......
Background .. . . ..
Purpose of the Study . . .

Theoretical Models for Migration .
A General Social Theory of Migration.
Economic Models of Migration. .
Overview of Theoretical Models .
Empirical Studies of Migration. .
Motivations for Migration . .
Characteristics of Migration Origins.
Characteristics of Migrants . .
Conclusions . . . .



. .17

. . 21
. . 22

. . 22

. . 24
. . 25
. . 28

Agricultural Development Activities . . .. 35
Land Reform . . . . . 36
Green Revolution . . . . 38
Agricultural Mechanization . . ... 40
Agricultural Services: Credit and Extension. . 42
Conclusions . . . . . 43
Off-Farm Employment . . . . 44
Rural Enterprises . . . . 45
Rural Public Works . . . . 46
Conclusions . . . . 48

Development of Rural Social Services. . ... 48
Rural Education . . * * 48
Family Planning Programs. .. . . 49
Rural Health Services . . . 50
Conclusions . * . 50

Developmental Projects of International Agencies . 51

. I *

Summary and Conclusions. . . . .. .58
Implications . . . ... 64
Implications for Development Activities. . .. .64
Implications for Project Assessment and Analysis .66
Implications for Future Research . . .. .66
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . 69


A relatively popular belief is that development in rural
areas can slow rural-urban migration and therefore help alleviate
problems of urban poverty. The logic behind this belief is based
on a number of propositions which are not completely consistent
with available empirical evidence. This study investigates the
proposition that development activities in rural areas can slow
rural-urban migration. The study analyzes relevant migration
theories, empirical studies of migration, and numerous different
types of development activities.
Social theory of migration suggests three reasons for
expecting a positive impact on migration. First, development
activities increase urban-rural integration and reduce the physical
and socio-cultural distance between rural and urban areas. With
the reduction of these intervening obstacles to migration, greater
rural-urban movements are expected. Second, development in
rural areas often results in higher levels of education, aspiration
and general modernization. These social changes tend to increase
propensity for rural-urban migration. Third, as societies develop,
migration volumes and rates usually increase.
Economic models are in conflict concerning the impact on
migration. The Todaro expected income model suggests that migra-
tion will be slowed because rural-urban income differentials
decline as a result of development activities in rural areas. The
intersectoral linkage model predicts accelerated migration as
development induced additions to rural income are spent on urban
goods and services thus leading to urban employment generation and
rural-urban migration. The Sjaastad benefit/cost model suggests
an ambiguous impact on migration as both net benefits and costs
of migration tend to decrease as a result of development activities
in rural areas.
Empirical studies suggest that development activities in
rural areas have mixed impacts on rural-urban migration. In general,
migration tends to be slowed by activities which reduce population
growth, increase cultivatable land, or distribute land or income
more equitably. In contrast, migration is usually stimulated by

activities which foster rural-urban integration, improve rural
roads or other forms of access to cities, increase commercializa-
tion of agriculture, or improve rural education and skill levels.
Development activities which raise rural incomes may either
increase, decrease,or have no net effect on rural-urban migration;
the relationship between rural income growth and rural-urban migra-
tion is complex and eludes broad generalization.
The findings of this investigation, which are summarized
in Table 2, indicate that different types of development activities
in rural areas have different implications for migration. Each
specific activity may have some impacts which accelerate migration
and others which tend to slow rural-urban movements. Because of
these counteracting impacts on migration, it is difficult to make
broad generalizations. The actual impact of a specific development
project on rural-urban migration depends in large measure upon
the specific characteristics of the project and the area into
which it is introduced. On the other hand, the investigation
suggests a number of tentative generalizations about the impact
on rural-urban migration of development activities in rural
While some types of agricultural development activities
may have a negative impact on rural-urban migration, others tend to
have a positive impact. In general, land reform and resettlement
schemes tend to slow migration. Rural-urban movements also may
be slowed by irrigation projects. On the other hand, the adoption
of Green Revolution technology (high yield seeds and fertilizer)
tends to accelerate rural-urban migration. The destination of
Green Revolution induced migration flows may focus more on regional
centers and market towns than on metropolitan areas. Other activities
which have tended to stimulate migration include rural land rent
ceilings, agricultural mechanization and the provision of agri-
cultural credit and extension.
Development activities which generate off-farm employment
usually stimulate migration to places experiencing employment
growth. Since most "rural" enterprise development occurs in small
urban centers, induced migration tends to be directed towards
small towns in the short run. However, as workers gain nonfarm

occupational skills they may move to metropolitan areas. Construction
of rural public works can slow rural-urban migration; however, after
completion of construction, urban migration may accelerate.
With the exception of education, development activities
which improve social services in rural areas have relatively minor
impacts on migration. Education provides youth with modern/urban
skills, attitudes and values; therefore it provides a strong
stimulus to rural-urban migration. Improved health care has
weak and mixed impacts on migration. Family planning programs
and other activities which reduce fertility can slow rural-urban
migration in the long run.
The rural-oriented activities of international development
agencies generally stimulate additional rural-urban migration.
The primary reason for this impact is that operating and project
expenditures for agency rural oriented activities are made pri-
marily in capital cities. Employment generated by these expendi-
tures and their multipliers provide a significant incentive for
rural-urban migration.
Though the generalizations presented in this study are
only tentative, two definite conclusions are offered. First, the
impacts on rural-urban migration of development activities in
rural areas are complex and elude broad generalization. Second,
in general, development activities in rural areas cannot be justified
on the grounds that they slow rural-urban migration.



Increasing urbanization is one of the most pervasive pro-
cesses in developing countries. According to a recent World Bank
document, "Between 1975 and the year 2000 the cities of the
developing countries will be expected to absorb 70 percent of the
projected population increases 1.3 billion." Projections such
as these often give the impression of massive rural-urban migra-
tion flows and extreme problems of urban poverty and unemployment.
Even at present, problems of urban poverty are very visible,
especially in the largest cities. This visibility has resulted
in the focus of considerable attention on urban poverty and un- and
under-employment. Governments are particularly concerned, either
for humanitarian reasons or because the growing urban underclass
is perceived as a threat to political stability. Governments often
assume that problems of urban poverty are a direct consequence of
rapid urban growth. A recent survey of governments in 98 developing
countries indicated that half considered present levels of metro-
politan growth excessive. The governments tended to link urban
poverty problems with rural-urban migration; about three-quarters
of the surveyed countries were pursuing programs designed to
reduce migration flows.
A relatively popular belief is that improvement of conditions
in rural areas will reduce rural-urban migration and consequently
relieve some of the growing problems of poverty in urban areas.
Based on this belief, many development activities in rural areas
have been justified partially on the grounds that they will reduce
urban migration. The proposition that development activities
in rural areas will reduce rural-urban migration seems intuitively
obvious. Development will make rural areas more attractive;there-
fore,people will be less apt to leave. Development will increase

iNotes are located at the end of each chapter.

rural incomes and employment thus,diminishing the major motivation
for migration- namely, economic gain. At first glance the proposi-
tion appears to be consistent with both migration theory and empiri-
cal studies of rural-urban migration. However, on closer inspection
the proposition seems less valid. Some of the migration and develop-
ment literature suggests that development activities in rural
areas may even increase rural-urban migration. The proposition
which seems so intuitively obvious at first is actually a hypo-
thesis in need of testing.
Thorough reviews of the migration and development literature
indicate that little research had focused directly on this hypothesis.3
A number of reasons can be offered for the lack of research in
this area. First, the hypothesis seems so obvious that it may not
have appeared worthy of investigation. Second, the separation of
academic research and applied knowledge may have contributed to
the neglect of this issue. The hypothesis links essentially
applied phenomena, development activities, with a more general
social process, rural-urban migration. The more general question
of interrelationships between rural social change and migration
have been investigated on occasion. Such investigations, which
will be discussed in greater detail later, provide some reasons
for doubting the proposition that development activities in rural
areas will reduce rural-urban migration. Anthropologists working
in rural areas could provide considerable information concerning
the hypothesis; however, until recently they generally selected
culturally "pure" areas which were not contaminated by development
activities. In addition, social scientists studying rural societies
have tended to concentrate more on those who remained rather than
those who migrated. Despite these caveats, there have been a great
number of studies on rural outmigration; unfortunately, few of these
have focused directly on the interrelationships between migration
and development activities. Third, in the past, development agencies
have allocated very limited resources for the evaluation of such
social impacts of their projects as rural-urban migration. Lack
of research on the hypothesis may also stem from the general lack
of effective methodology for conducting social impact analyses.

There appears to be some misconceptions in the logic behind
the belief that development activities in rural areas will reduce
urban migration and therefore alleviate problems of urban poverty.
The logic behind this belief often is based on some or all of
the following propositions. First, expansion of urban population
and rapid increases in urban poverty are closely associated with
migration. Second, the majority of those in urban slums and squatter
settlements are migrants. Third, most migrants are poor or, at
least, not so well-off as urban natives. Fourth, the flow of
migrants into urban areas primarily originates in rural areas.
Fifth, migrants who are forced to leave rural areas due to
rural poverty and unemployment usually move into urban areas.
Sixth, improvement of conditions in rural areas will reduce the
flow of rural-urban migration. Finally, development activities
in rural areas will improve rural conditions and therefore reduce
rural-urban migration. Unfortunately, this relatively popular
set of propositions is not completely consistent with empirical
evidence. Before discussing this matter further, it is useful
to clarify some definitional issues which contribute to miscon-
ceptions about rural-urban migration.
Empirical studies of rural-urban migration and its impact
on urban growth contain a variety of different definitions which
tend to confuse basic issues and lead to misconceptions. Perhaps
the biggest stumbling block revolves around efforts to divide the
rural-urban continuum into a dichotomy of "rural" and "urban"
components. At one extreme are thosewho consider any center which
provides urban-type services as "urban." Such small centers may
contain populations of only 50 people. At the other extreme are
those who consider everything outside the capital or primate city
as "rural." With this approach, cities of 500,000 or more are
placed in the "rural" category. The confusion surrounding defini-
tions of "rural" and "urban" is widely recognized but still blocks
rational discussion of rural and urban interactions.
A variety of definitions has been used to separate "migrants"
from "nonmigrants." Unfortunately, many studies do not provide
an explicit definition; consequently the reader is forced to make
an arbitrary assumption. Distinctions between migrants and nonmigrants

are particularly important in analyses of the contribution of
migration to urban population growth. Studies which stress the
importance of migration to urban growth may define migrants as
anyone who was born in another area or the child of anyone who was
born in another area. On the other hand, migrants may be defined
as those who have moved into the area within the last year, while
all of the rest are considered as nonmigrants. Obviously, there
is a wide variety of alternative definitions between these two
extremes. Confused definitions concerning migrant-nonmigrant and
rural-urban are partially responsible for some of the popular
misconceptions about migration and urban population growth.
Perhaps the most serious misconception is that migration
is the primary cause of urban population growth. Migration is
only one of the many factors which contribute to urban growth.
The most important factor in urban population growth is natural
increase in urban areas. Available data suggest that natural
increase (the difference between births and deaths in urban areas)
accounts for almost 60 percent of the increase in urban population.
Another factor is natural increase in rural communities which
pushes their population across arbitrary urban-rural classification
borderlines, thus causing them to be reclassified as "urban"
communities. Similarly, the city limits of urban areas are often
expanded to encompass populations which were previously classified
as "rural." Recent calculations based on United Nations data
indicate that during the next decade rural-urban migration will
account for less than 25 percent of the urban population growth
in Latin American and less than 40 percent in Africa and developing
countries of Asia.5 Though these figures are only rough approxi-
mations, they are sufficient to recify the misconception that most
urban growth is caused by migration.
Many recent studies have focused on migrants in slums
and squatter settlements. These studies give many readers the
impression that most of the residents of slums and squatter settle-
ments are migrants and that most migrants are poor or at least not
so well-off as urban natives. Reviews of available information
suggest that migrants, by whatever definition, generally are almost
as well-off as urban natives.7 The literature reveals considerable

variation concerning the comparative social well-being of migrants
and natives. Though many migrants are relatively poor, a very
sizeable proportion are quite successful having moved to urban
areas to take advantage of their relatively high education and
skill level. The fact that the socioeconomic distributions of
migrants and nonmigrants are quite similar should dispel the popular
belief that most migrants are poor in comparison to urban natives.
By the same token, available empirical evidence suggests that
migrants usually are a minority in urban slums and squatter
settlements even though such areas may have a slightly higher
percentage of migrants than the total urban area.
Another popular misconception concerns the origins and
destinations of major migration flows. Many appear to assume that
migrants in urban areas have come from rural areas and that those
who leave rural areas migrate to urban areas. Available evidence
indicates that a very sizeable proportion of migrants to urban
areas come from other urban areas, especially in highly urbanized
Latin America.8 For example, less than 15% of migrants to Santiago
and less than 25% of migrants to Bogota came from rural areas.
Rural to rural migration is also important, particularly in the
less urbanized areas of Africa and Asia. A well known example of
rural to rural migration is the movement of rural labor into the
cocoa and coffee producing areas of West Africa. Urban to rural
migration is also significant in many areas. The importance of
migration to rural areas is often overlooked; a study of migration
in the highly urbanized country of Colombia indicates that over
one-third of all migrants had moved to rural areas.
In summary, the belief that development activities in
rural areas will reduce urban migration and,therefore, relieve
problems of urban poverty, is based on a number of propositions
which are not completely consistent with available empirical

Purpose of the Study

The overall purpose of the study is to investigate the
hypothesis that development activities in rural areas reduce (or

increase) rural-urban migration. The approach taken is to analyze
all available published and unpublished literature which is relevant
to the hypothesis. Two major bodies of literature are screened
-- namely, the migration literature and the development literature
pertaining to rural areas. It was recognized at the outset that
a conclusive answer was probably not possible because conditions
vary so greatly between countries and between types of development
For the purpose of the study, development activities in
rural areas are defined as actions taken by national or international
agencies which are explicitly designed to increase production or
improve the quality of life in rural areas. While this definition
includes policies, programs, projects, and specific rural improve-
ments, the emphasis is placed on projects and specific improvements.
Numerous types of development activities are considered under three
general headings: agricultural development, off-farm employment,
and provision of rural social services. Integrated rural develop-
ment projects or market town projects may include several types
of rural improvements, such as improved education, health services,
agricultural credit, and employment generation. The study does
not explicitly focus on these types of general projects; instead,
each type of improvement is analyzed separately so that its individual
impacts on the rural-urban migration can be isolated. The
study also focuses on rural improvements rather than the methods
used to implement improvements.12 However, labor intensive methods
of implementing rural public works are considered in the section
on off-farm employment.
Rural-urban migration in this study is defined as residential
relocation from a predominantly agricultural area to an area in
which a majority of the employment is in nonagricultural activities.
Though this definition does not distinguish between urban centers
of varying sizes -i.e., between market towns and metropolitan
areas -throughout the study there is an attempt to make this dis-
tinction when it is relevant and possible. The definition also
does not distinguish between seasonal, other temporary and perman-
ent migration. Though the focus is on permanent migration, the
study does not explicitly distinguish between temporal types of

migration because seasonal and temporary movements often lead directly
to permanent migration.
The nature of the study implies a concentration on acti-
vities and characteristics in rural areas which influence rural-
urban migration. This concentration is not meant to suggest that
activities and characteristics in rural areas are the only nor
the most important factors in rural-urban migration. Certainly,
economic opportunities and availability of friends and relatives
in urban areas are extremely important factors. However, these
factors are held constant in this study so that attention can be
focused on the impacts on migration of development activities in
rural areas. In terms of economics, the relationship between
development activities in rural areas and rural-urban migration is
investigated under ceteris paribus conditions. The implicit assump-
tion is that wage rates, social service provision, and amenities
are generally higher in urban than rural areas. This assumption
is consistent with evidence from all developing areas. In other
words, the assumption is made that a significnat urban "pull"
factor is present in all cases.
The study is limited to the impacts of development activities
on migration. The investigation is not directly concerned with
impacts of migration on development activities, rural origins, or
urban destinations. Furthermore, the study is not concerned with
the question of whether rural-urban migration has a net positive
or negative effect on national development.1
The report is presented in four chapters. The first or
introductory chapter describes the central hypothesis and purpose
of the study. The second reviews relevant migration literature by
discussing key migration models and theories and investigating
empirical evidence related to the central hypothesis. The third
chapter reviews relevant development literature and attempts to
isolate the impact on rural-urban migration of a variety of develop-
ment activities in rural areas. The final chapter summarizes the
findings, draws conclusions, and discusses implications for develop-
ment activities and future research.


Beier et al. (1975).

2Findley (1977: 111).

3Though several studies have investigated the relationships
between rural-urban migration and development as a process, few,
if any, focus explicitly on relationships between migration and
development activities -i.e., development projects and programs.

4Findley (1977: 32-38); U.N. (1975).

5Findley (1977: 36); U.N. (1975). Calculations use national
definitions to distinguish between "rural" and "urban" areas.
Methodology is based on projections of rural and urban population
growth and assumption that rural and urban rates of natural in-
crease are equal.

6Karpat (1976); Perlman (1976); Mangin (1970); Peattie (1968);
Flinn (1968); Cornelius (1975).

7For reviews of relevant empirical studies see Findley (1977:
23-32, 41); Brigg (1973); Speare and Goldstein (1978).
8Simmonsetal. (1977); Yap (1975); Brigg (1973); Findley
(1977: 22).

Simmons, et al. (1977: 94).

1Simmons,et al. (1977: 92).

11The focus on individual rural improvements precludes an
analysis of the possible impacts on rural-urban migration of
interactions between different types of improvements. Such inter-
action effects are complex and beyond the scope of this explora-
tory study.
12It realized that different implementation methods may
influence migration; for example, local participation in project
identification, design,and administration may increase local commit-
ment and,therefore,might possibly reduce rural-urban migration.
There is almost no available literature relating implementation
methods and migration; consequently, this issue was considered
beyond the scope of this exploratory study.

13For a review of the influences of migration on rural origins,
urban destinations, migrants themselves, and national development,
see: Findley (1977: 23-64); Lipton (1978).


Theoretical Models of Migration

Numerous different theoretical models of migration have
been developed. Models relevant to the purpose of this study can
be grouped conveniently into social models and economic models.
The different social models which are relevant can be incorporated
into a general social theory of migration. On the other hand,
for the purpose of this study, it is useful to discuss each rele-
vant economic model separately.

A General Social Theory of Migration

Perhaps the first attempt to develop a theory of migration
was Ravenstein's presentation of "laws" of migration in the late
nineteenth century.1 These laws were comprised of a set of migra-
tion generalizations which largely have withstood the test of time.
Working from the so-called "laws" and additional empirical generali-
zations, Everett S. Lee presented his theory of migration in 1966.2
He attempted to develop a truly general theory which explained
internal and international migration in and between both developed
and developing areas over a long period of history. Lee's con-
ceptual framework is sufficiently general to incorporate other
social models relevant to our central hypothesis. The framework
focuses on migration decision-making and presents four general
factors which influence migration decisions: origin factors, des-
tination factors, intervening obstacles, and personal factors.
Origin Factors.3 In every area there are factors which
influence migration from the area. Some of the attractive factors
tend to hold people in the area while other factors tend to repel
them. Such factors may be thought of as "push" and "pull" forces.
An important point is that these factors may influence the migra-
tion decisions of different people in different ways. For example,
land reform may be perceived as a positive factor by tenant farmers;
therefore,it may decrease their propensity for migration. On the

other hand, land reform can increase the migration propensity of
large landholders.
Development activities in rural areas are designed to in-
crease production and improve the quality of life in rural areas.
These activities should,therefore, increase the attractiveness of
rural areas and, consequently,reduce the propensity for out-migration
of most rural people. In short, the impact of development activi-
ties on origin factors should reduce rural-urban migration. This
relatively obvious impact is the basis for the popular belief that
development in rural areas will reduce rural-urban migration.
Destination Factors. As with origins, destinations have
attractive and repulsive forces which influence migration decisions.
The so-called "pull" of urban areas often are discussed in conjunc-
tion with "push" forces in rural areas. However, it should be
remembered that both origins and potential destinations contain
"push" and "pull" factors. Another important point is that migra-
tion is not directly influenced by origin and destination charac-
teristics, rather by the perceptions of these characteristics by
migration decision-makers. While origin factors may be accurately
perceived, this is not always the case for destination factors. In-
accurate perceptions of potential destinations, often based on lack
of information, impose an element of risk for those who migrate.4
Development activities in rural areas of origin may not
have direct effects on factors at potential urban destinations,
but they have indirect effects. Development activities increase
production levels in rural areas and often lead to a shift from
subsistence to commercial agriculture. With increased production,
income, and commercialization, the rural demand for urban-produced
consumer goods and agricultural inputs tends to rise. Such in-
creases in demand can generate economic activity and employment
in urban areas through rural-urban economic linkages and multi-
pliers.5 Expanded economic activity in the urban areas can act
as a stimulus to rural-urban migration. In short, successful
development in rural areas can increase the "pull" of urban areas
and,therefore,contribute to rural-urban migration.

Intervening Obstacles. The simple summation of the push
and pull factors at origins and potential destinations does not
in itself dictate migration decisions. Consideration must be
given also to everpresent natural inertia and obstacles between
origins and potential destinations.
Distance is the most obvious obstacle; countless studies
reveal the negative relationship between distance and migration.7
Both physical distance and socio-cultural distance are important.
Physical distance is related to the time and cost of initial moves
as well as visits to urban areas. Socio-cultural distance includes
differences between origins and destinations with respect to lang-
uage, degree of modernity, religion, values, and attitudes. Lack
of information concerning opportunities and characteristics of
potential destinations is related to socio-cultural distance. In
some cases, physical barriers and enforced migration restrictions
act as intervening obstacles to migration.
In general, development activities in rural areas tend to
reduce intervening obstacles to rural-urban migration. Physical
distance between rural and urban areas is reduced by road and
highway improvements, building of bridges, and improvements in
transportation services. Development which increases rural incomes
enables people to overcome obstacles to rural-urban migration more
easily. Migration requires an amount of financial resources; often
people do not migrate because they simply cannot afford it.
Development activities may provide them with the funds needed to
Perhaps more important than the reduction in physical dis-
tance is the impact that development has on the socio-cultural
distances between rural and urban areas. The most obvious example
is the development of formal education in rural areas. Education
enables rural youth to acquire modern urban attitudes, aspirations,
language skills, and accreditation in the form of school diplomas
and certificates. Thus, formal education has reduced socio-cultural
distance greatly and, therefore, resulted in considerable rural-urban
migration.10 Development activities usually involve a shift from
traditional systems to modern systems -for example, from subsistence

to commercial agriculture, from fatalism to rational planning, from
traditional to modern languages and belief systems, and from pro-
vincial to urbane interests and attitudes. These changes all tend
to reduce socio-cultural distance between rural and urban areas.
An explicit purpose of many development activities is to integrate
rural areas into the national system; this reduces rural-urban
socio-cultural distance and provides rural populations with con-
siderable information concerning opportunities and characteristics
in urban areas. Such information reduces the risk of rural-urban
In summary, a direct impact of development activities in
rural areas is the reduction of such intervening obstacles to
rural-urban migration as physical distance, socio-cultural distance,
and information. The reduction of these intervening obstacles is
expected to increase rural-urban migration.
Personal Factors. Personal factors are an important
consideration in rural-urban migration. As mentioned earlier, it
is the perceptions of origin and destination factors and intervening
obstacles which are crucial to migration decisions. Perceptions
of the same factors can vary considerably from individual to in-
dividual. Different individuals also are affected differently by
the same factors. For these reasons it is important to distinguish
between types of individuals. Though Lee recognized that no two
individuals are the same, he suggested that generalizations can
be made about types or classes of migration decision-makers. While
most theories implicitly assume that migration decisions are made
by potential migrants, evidence from developing countries suggests
that family heads often make migration decisions for members of
their clan.1
A number of personal characteristics are related to pro-
pensity for migration. Relevant personal characteristics include
age, sex, marital status, level of education, income, landholdings,
occupation, previous exposure to urban areas, and such behavioral
variables as attitude toward risk, aspiration level, value and
belief systems, and attachment to rural society. Some of the rela-
tionships between personal factors and migration propensity are
complex and not completely understood.

Development activities in rural areas may have considerable
effect on personal characteristics. Increases in individual land-
holdings are expected to reduce rural-urban migration. Growth of
individual income can have either a positive or negative impact'on
migration depending on the specific situation.3 As discussed
earlier, development tends to be associated with a number of indi-
vidual factors which may result in greater propensity for rural-
urban migration. These factors include increased levels of educa-
tion, aspiration, awareness of urban opportunities, and general
level of modernization. It appears that the net impact of develop-
ment activities on personal factors tend to increase propensities
for rural-urban migration. However, these impacts are likely to
vary considerably from place to place and from individual to in-
Hypotheses. Lee hypothesized that a number of general pro-
positions can be made which characterize migration in a wide
variety of circumstances. He suggested that the volume and rate
of migration tend to increase with the passage of time and level of
progress in the country. Development activities which accelerate
socio-economic change (i.e., passage of time) and stimulate progress
are expected to increase all types of migration including rural-
urban migration.14
Lee presented a number of hypotheses concerning the selec-
tivity of migration. He suggested that migrants responding pri-
marily to pull factors at urban destinations tend to be positively
selected (i.e., come from more well-off groups in rural areas). On
the other hand, those who primarily respond to push factors at
rural origins are likely to be negatively selected. Taking all
migrants together, selectivity tends to be bimodal -i.e., migrants
are more apt to be either relatively poor or relatively well-off.
The pattern of bimodal selectivity suggests that development
activities which increase equity in rural areas may reduce migra-
tion. Lee also hypothesizes that the degree of positive selection
increases with the difficulty of intervening obstacles. Thus, more
well-off rural groups are more likely to make the difficult
migration either to distant metropolitan areas or during the early

stages of urbanization when rural-urban socio-cultural distances
are great. The converse suggests that development activities which
reduce intervening obstacles can lead to less selective migration
as poor rural residents find it easier to move to cities.15
Conclusions. Though social theory of migration suggests
that development activities in rural areas have both positive and
negative impacts on rural-urban migration, the net impact is ex-
pected to be positive. The theory suggests one basic reason why
development activities may reduce migration. Successful develop-
ment activities make rural areas more attractive in terms of eco-
nomic activities and amenities; therefore, the desire of rural
residents to migrate should be reduced. This relationship is the
basic idea behind the belief that development activities in rural
areas will reduce rural-urban migration.
In contrast, three basic components of social theory of
migration imply that development activities in rural areas will
increase rural-urban migration. First, development activities re-
sult in greater rural-urban integration and the reduction of
physical and,more importantly, socio-culture distance between
rural and urban areas. As these intervening obstacles to rural-
urban migration are decreased, greater flows of rural-urban migra-
tion are expected. Second, development activities are associated
with a general modernization of the personal characteristics of
rural populations. Such changes tend to increase propensity for
rural-urban migration. Third, the theory indicates that as socie-
ties progress or develop, migration volumes and rates increase.
In summary, social theory of migration indicates that
development activities in rural areas are expected to have a net
positive impact on rural-urban migration. The impacts are expected
to vary considerably with respect to rural conditions and types
of development activities.

Economic Models of Migration

Three economic models of migration are of particular in-
terest concerning the question of the impacts on rural-urban

migration of development activities in rural areas: (1) the human
capital or benefit/cost approach, (2) the expected income model,
and (3) the intersectoral linkage model. The well-known labor
mobility models of Sir W. Arthur Lewis and Fei and Ranis are not
relevant because their assumption of a stagnant rural subsistence
sector precludes the possibility of development in rural areas.6
The Human Capital or Benefit/Cost Model. This model uses
the concept of investment in human capital to focus on the costs
and benefits of migration decisions. The model as developed by
Sjaastad assumes that people will migrate when the benefits out-
weigh the costs.17 Benefits of migration are the present value
of potential income gains from the difference in income between
origins and destinations. Nonmonetary benefits such as those
arising from location preference are also included in the model.
Costs of migration include moving expenses, opportunity costs of
foregone earnings between jobs, and nonmonetary "psychic costs" such
as the disutility of leaving one's home community and settling in
an unfamiliar environment.
The benefit/cost model is attractive because it recognizes
the effect of the individual characteristics of potential migrants.
Older people are less likely to move because differential income
returns from migration accrue over a shorter remaining lifespan
and "psychic costs" may be greater. Educated youth tend to be
more mobile because their origin-destination income differences
are usually larger and their greater awareness probably reduces
the "psychic costs" of migration.
The model has a number of implications concerning the
rural-urban migration impact of development activities in rural
areas. Development tends to reduce migration costs and may either
increase or decrease the benefits of migration. Development in
rural areas reduces both the monetary costs of migration (by im-
proving rural-urban transport, etc.) and, more importantly, non-
monetary or "psychic costs." Costs of migration in this context
are analogous to "intervening obstacles" within the social theory
of migration. Development in rural areas can increase the benefits
of migration by preparing rural residents to more effectively

participate in urban activities. Development is associated with
improved occupational skills, higher levels of education, greater
aspirations, and more modern attitudes; such changes enable rural
residents to better exploit urban economic opportunities. Moderni-
zation of rural residents may also act to increase the nonmonetary
benefits of migration (i.e., appreciation of amenities, social
opportunities, entertainment, etc.). On the other hand, develop-
ment activities also increase the benefits of not migrating. Develop-
ment can increase rural income and employment as well as provide
improved living conditions; such changes make rural areas more
attractive places to live. In short, development activities in
rural areas tend to increase both the benefits of migration and
the benefits of nonmigration. A crucial question is whether or
not it increases or decreases net benefits of migration (migration
benefits minus nonmigration benefits). If development activities
have equal impacts on the benefits of both migration and nonmigra-
tion (i.e., if there is no change in net benefits of migration),
then rural-urban migration is expected to increase because the
costs of migration are reduced.
In conclusion, the benefit/cost model of migration suggests
that development activities in rural areas will have mixed impacts
on rural-urban migration. In actual situations the impacts will
affect different people differently -- either increasing or de-
creasing their individual net benefits of migration and individual
propensities for rural-urban migration.
Expected Income Model. This model was developed by Todaro
in an attempt to explain a seemingly paradoxical situation of con-
tinued rural-urban migration in the face of rising unemployment
in cities.18 The model is based on the idea that migration deci-
sions depend upon perceptions of "expected" income rather than on
actual wage rates. Expected income in rural areas is based on
prevailing rural incomes and wages; in urban areas, expected income
is a function of arbitrarily high urban sector minimum wagesand
the probability of gaining urban employment. According to the
model, rural-urban migration will continue until the expected urban
income is equal to the expected (prevailing) rural income.19 The
model has received considerable attention and refinement.20

Though the model focuses attention on selection of appro-
private employment policies in urban areas,21 it also provides some
implications for development activities in rural areas. Todaro
suggests that investment in rural amenities and efforts to reduce
rural-urban income differentials will result in decreased rural-
urban migration.22 Harris and Todaro point out that, while creation
of urban jobs will reduce rural production through induced migra-
tion, job creation in rural areas will not reduce industrial output
and, in theory, will induce urban to rural return migration.23
In conclusion, the expected income model implies that
development activities in rural areas will reduce rural-urban
migration flows. This model and the economic perspective in gen-
eral appear to be the basis of the popularly held belief concerning
the negative relationship between development in rural areas and
rural-urban migration.
Intersectoral Linkages Models. This approach is based on
the idea that different sectors as well as rural and urban areas
are interconnected by systems of backward and forward linkages.2
Through such linkages, development in rural areas influences eco-
nomic activities in urban areas. Agricultural development is asso-
ciated with increased demand for farm inputs; this backward linkage
results in the growth of such urban activities as production and
distribution of farm implements and machinery, fertilizer, new
seed varieties, credit, and agricultural information. Forward
linkages are apt to be more important; these include transport
and storage of agricultural commodities, food and other agripro-
cessing activities, and wholesaling, transport,and retailing of
agricultural based products. Final demand linkages resulting from
increased rural incomes are particularly important. Rural produced
goods tend to be income inelastic while urban goods and services
are generally income elastic.25 Consequently, as incomes rise,
rural customers are expected to spend an increasing proportion of
added income on urban goods and services. While added rural income
will generate some additional demand for rural goods, it will have
a much greater impact on demand for urban goods and services. To
meet this added demand, urban production will increase resulting in
employment generation in urban areas and induced rural-urban migra-

The distribution of income gains in rural areas can have
important implications for migration. The poorest rural families
are apt to spend most of their additional income on basic food-
stuffs which have little or no linkages to the urban sector. On
the other hand, more well-off rural residents are likely to spend
almost all of their added income on goods and services from the
urDan sector. In other words, development activities which in-
crease incomes of middle-level and more well-off farmers will have a
stronger positive impact on rural-urban migration than activities
which concentrate benefits on the poorest rural residents.
Intersectoral linkages have important implications for the
pattern of rural-urban migration. Most of the urban employment
induced by agriculture growth through backward (demand for farm
inputs) and forward (agriprocessing, etc.) linkages will accrue
to market towns and regional centers. Consequently, backward and
forward intersectoral linkages are likely to stimulate migration
from rural areas to market towns and regional centers. Rural income
growth also will increase the demand for consumer services in
market towns and regional centers; the resulting employment genera-
tion will stimulate migration to these smaller urban centers. In
contrast, employment generation induced by additional rural demand
for urban products may primarily accrue to primate cities or even
developed countries if products are imported. Therefore, this
type of intersectoral linkage is likely to stimulate migration to
metropolitan areas; however, this depends on the industrial struc-
ture and consumer preference of individual countries.
In conclusion, the intersectoral linkage model suggests
that rural-urban migration may be stimulated by development activi-
ties in rural areas which raise rural incomes. While some of the
induced migration may flow into large primate cities, most migrants
probably will move to market towns and regional centers.

Overview of Theoretical Models

Different theoretical models are in conflict concerning
the impact on rural-urban migration of development activities in
rural areas. Some theories suggest that migration will be stimulated

while others imply that it will be reduced. General social theory
of migration focuses on social changes associated with development;
these changes provide rural residents with urban orientations and
skills which consequently facilitate migration. The intersectoral
linkage model also predicts accelerated migration as development
induced increases in rural income are spent on urban goods and
services thus leading to urban employment generation and rural-
urban migration. On the other hand, the Todaro expected income
approach suggests that migration will decrease because rural-urban
income differentials decline as a result of development activities
in rural areas. The situation is further confused by the Sjaastad
benefit/cost migration model which suggests an ambiguous impact
on migration as both net benefits and costs of migration may de-
crease as a result of development activities in rural areas. In
short, theoretical models do not provide a clear-cut answer con-
cerning the rural-urban migration impacts of development activities
in rural areas. The next section attempts to clarify this issue
by examining empirical evidence on rural-urban migration.

Empirical Studies of Migration

A large number of empirical studies have been conducted
of internal migration in developing countries. Several reviews
of these studies are available.26 This section discusses empirical
studies relevant to the impacts on rural-urban migration of develop-
ment activities in rural areas. The discussion is presented in
three units: (1) motivations for migration, (2) characteristics
of migration origins, and (3) characteristics of migrants.

Motivations for Migration

Most surveys indicate that migration is primarily motivated
by economic considerations. This result is consistently reaffirmed
by empirical studies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.27 Economic
factors are cited in surveys of both reasons for leaving an area
and reasons for selecting a specific destination. Studies of out-
migration generally indicate that economic "push" factors are most

important while in-migration studies suggest that economic "pull"
factors are predominant. This difference could be attributable
to two factors: (1) The locational context of the survey, i.e.,
"Why did you leave here?" versus "Why did you come here?". (2)
Those surveyed at rural origins and those at urban destinations
may be samples of two different migrant groups because rural out-
migrants are not the same as urban in-migrants.
Economic "push" factors may be most important to some
migrants while "pull" factors are the primary concern of others.
Empirical evidence suggests that major economic "push" factors
include agricultural un- and under-employment, lack of land, and
general rural poverty.28 These factors are all interrelated and
tend to have the strongest impact on the rural poor. Surveys
indicate that the most important economic "pull" factor is the
perception of high wages from urban employment.29 "Push" and
"pull" factors are closely interrelated; those who are "pushed"
into migration are simultaneously "pulled" by the hope of finding
something better elsewhere. By the same token those who are
"pulled" by urban opportunities are simultaneously "pushed" by the
lack of opportunities in rural areas.
Though empirical studies indicated that economic motiva-
tions are clearly most important, a number of other motivations
for migration are suggested. Empirical studies in Latin America,
Subsahara Africa, and Asia suggest that some rural-urban migration
is motivated by a desire for the educational opportunities offered
in urban areas.30 Other motivations cited in the literature include
marriage (especially for women), joining the family already at the
destination, escape from rural violence or war, and desire for
urban amenities.31 Very little empirical evidence supports the
popular idea that rural-urban migration is motivated by "bright
city lights" or urban entertainment.32 It should be remembered
that noneconomic factors are generally secondary reasons for migra-
tion; in the majority of cases economic considerations are the
primary motive for migration.

Characteristics of Migration Origins

Relatively few empirical studies have investigated corre-
lations between origin characteristics and rates of rural-urban
migration. On the other hand, numerous investigations have been
made of general out-migration (without distinguishing whether out-
migrants went to urban or rural areas). These studies suggest
that out-migration is associated with land availability and origin
economic characteristics.
Land Availability. A number of empirical studies indicate
that rural areas with high out-migration rates tend to have high
population densities or high ratios of labor to arable land.3
The positive correlation between out-migration and lack of land
is generally true for rural areas in Africa, Asia, and Latin America;
however, a few studies indicate a negative correlation. Making
causal inferences from studies correlating out-migration and land
availability is problematical. Lack of land may cause out-migration;
however, out-migration causes changes in land availability. Dis-
tribution of available land is also a factor in migration. Evidence
from India and Latin America suggests a positive correlation be-
tween high rates of rural out-migration and unequal distribution
of land.35
Origin Economic Characteristics. A number of empirical
studies investigate the relationship between level of rural develop-
ment and rates of out-migration; however, the results of these
studies are inconclusive. Much of the evidence from Asian countries
suggests that rural areas with low income levels or low yields
tend to have relatively high rates of rural out-migration. On
the other hand, studies from Africa and Latin America reveal high
rates of out-migration from rural areas with relatively high levels
of income37 or education.38 Relationships between income level
and out-migration can be misleading because the causal link is
ambiguous. Low (or high) per capital income in a rural area may
be associated with factors which could cause increased out-migration.
Alternatively, high rates of out-migration could cause increased
per capital income (if the poorest left or if remittances were sub-
stantial) or decreased income (if better-off residents migrated).

Empirical evidence suggests that rural-urban integration
is correlated with high rates of out-migration. Studies of rural
areas in India, Colombia, and New Hebrides indicate a positive
correlation between high rates of rural out-migration and commer-
cialization of agriculture.39 However, evidence from Turkey sug-
gests a negative correlation.40 Care should be taken in interpreting
these results because farmers may have migrated temporarily in
order to obtain the funds needed to invest in commercial agricul-
ture. The large number of studies which indicate distance inhibits
migration suggest that rural areas which are accessible to, and
well integrated with, urban centers should exhibit high rates of
rural-urban migration. This expectation is supported by the few
studies which have explicitly investigated this issue.41 On the
other hand, villages on the outskirts of cities may have low rates
of out-migration because their residents may commute to opportuni-
ties in cities.
Conclusions. Clearcut conclusions are difficult to obtain
because most studies of rural out-migration fail to distinguish be-
tween rural-rural migration and rural-urban migration. Empirical
evidence suggests that rural-urban migration is positively correlated
with rural accessibility to, and integration with, urban centers;
however, this generalization is based on relatively few studies.
Many empirical studies indicate that lack of land is associated with
high rates of rural out-migration; however, whether or not these
out-migrants go to urban areas is not clear.

Characteristics of Migrants

A large number of empirical studies have investigated the
characteristics of rural-urban migrants. In almost all cases,
studies reveal that migrants tend to have relatively high levels
of education and are most likely to be young (15 to 30 years).42
In Africa and Asia migrants are more apt to be male while in Latin
America and the Philippines females predominate.43 Though the
evidence is mixed, it appears that rural-urban migrants are more
likely than nonmigrants to have nonagricultural occupational skills.44

Rural-urban migrants are also more apt to have made previous visits
to cities, have friends and relatives in cities, and be more aware
of cities and the opportunities they provide.45 In short, there
is considerable evidence to suggest that rural-urban migrants are
generally more qualified for urban life than rural nonmigrants.
A number of studies indicate that rural-urban migration
is positively correlated with family income level.46 The correla-
tion appears to imply that as a rural family's income increases,
it experiences higher rates of rural-urban migration. This impli-
cation is in direct contradiction to the expected income theory
of migration. The theory suggests that rural-urban migration is
positively related to the size of the rural-urban income difference;
therefore as a rural family's income grows it should experience
lower rates of migration (assuming expected urban income remains
unchanged). The positive correlation between rural-urban migration
and income level does not mean that income growth will necessarily
lead to (cause) higher rates of rural-urban migration. The causal
link between income level and migration is ambiguous; successful
migration and remittances may cause high migration groups to have
relatively high incomes. The correlation between income and migra-
tion rate also is confused by a number of intervening factors.
Income is associated with other characteristics which promote
rural-urban migration such as education and occupational skill
levels, aspirations, information and awareness, self-efficacy,
intelligence, and attitude toward development. It is these other
factors which are positively linked to migration and not income
per se. If income could be increased without influencing any of
these other factors, then income growth might possibly slow rural-
urban migration propensity. However, it is doubtful that this
could result from a development activity. Development implies in-
come growth and social change; income growth by itself is not con-
sidered development.
What is the influence of development-induced income growth
on rates of rural-urban migration? This is a crucial question;
unfortunately, relevant empirical evidence concerning this issue
is not available. On the one hand, income growth could reduce the
incentive for migration, thus lower migration rates are expected.

On the other hand, development-induced income growth is associated
with social changes which tend to accelerate rural-urban migration.
This is especially true for youth who are expected to have higher
levels of education and rising aspirations as a result of income-
generating development activities. Furthermore, rural income
growth may stimulate additional demand for urban goods and services;
thus generating urban employment through intersectoral linkages
and stimulating additional rural-urban migration. In short, neither
empirical evidence nor migration theory provide a clearcut answer
concerning the impact on rural-urban migration of rural income
growth induced by development activities. Because there are strong
arguments on both sides of the issue, we assume in this study that
development-induced rural income growth has a mixed impact on
rural-urban migration. However, we can be sure that rural-urban
migrants are positively selected in that they come from higher
socioeconomic groups in rural areas.
There is some evidence to suggest that the degree of posi-
tive selectivity in rural-urban migration tends to decline with
time. In other words, the differences in education, income, etc.,
between rural-urban migrants and rural nonmigrants generally de-
crease with the passage of time. This seems reasonable; early
migrants must be well qualified to overcome the many obstacles to
rural-urban migration. Later migrants find it easier because they
can follow existing migration paths, stay with friends and rela-
tives upon arrival, and rely on established networks to obtain
housing or employment. Studies indicate declining rural-urban
migration selectivity in Latin America.47 However, there is little
or no evidence of this trend in Africa or Asia.
Though rural-urban migrants usually come from better-off
groups in rural areas, this generalization does not hold for all
out-migrants from rural areas. Much of the literature on rural
out-migration might appear to suggest that rural out-migrants are
generally worse-off than rural nonmigrants. For example, surveys
of reasons for rural out-migration usually reveal such motivations
as "rural poverty," "lack of land," or "rural unemployment." How-
ever, few of the rural out-migration surveys indicate that,in

general, migrants are poorer than nonmigrants.48 A partial reason
for this finding is that a certain threshold of funds is needed
before migration can be considered as a viable alternative.49
A number of empirical studies support Lee's theory by in-
dicating that rural out-migration is bimodal -i.e., out-migration
rates are highest for those at the medium-low and medium-high
levels of the rural income distribution.50 Furthermore, those
from medium-low income groups tend to move to nearby rural areas
(or perhaps, small towns) while those from the medium-high groups
are more apt to move greater distances into larger urban areas.
This type of migration flow (Figure 1) has been observed in coun-
tries of Africa,51 Asia,52 and Latin America.53 This model of
migration flow is intuitively reasonable. Better-off rural income
groups are more apt to migrate or send their educated youth to
larger cities,in order to take advantage of their higher education
levels or modern skills. On the other hand, relatively poor groups
can only afford to migrate short distances and are expected to
search for either agricultural or unskilled work in nearby areas
because they generally lack the education, skills,and information
needed to compete in large cities. However, moves to nearby small
towns could possibly lead to later migration to big cities after
requisite urban skills, education levels, and information are
acquired. As mentioned above, the poorest of the poor are not
expected to migrate because they lack funds for migration and are
too preoccupied with survival. The middle-income rural residents
might be less apt to migrate because they are fairly secure as
farmers, sharecroppers, or petty entrepreneurs and they lack the
urban skills which might motivate migration. Of course, the edu-
cated youth of middle-income farmers may migrate to cities while
the uneducated youth, without access to land or agriculture employ-
ment, may be forced into rural-rural migration.


Empirical studies reveal a number of generalizations con-
cerning internal migration in developing countries. Several of
these generalizations are relevant to the issue of the impacts on
rural-urban migration of development activities in rural areas.

Rate of
Rural Out-

Total Rural

/ Rural-Urban N
/ Migration

Rural-Rural Migration

Level of Socio-Economic Status
(Income, Education, Etc.)

Figure 1. Idealized relationship between rate of rural
out-migration and level of individual or family socio-
economic status. Source: Author, based on argument and
evidence provided by Lipton (1978).

_ __I

Table 1. Implications of Empirical Studies Concerning Migration Impacts of
Development Activities in Rural Areas

Empirical Generalization

1. Positive correlation between rural
out-migration and high population

2. Positive correlation between rural-
out-migration and unequitable land

3. Positive correlation between rural-
urban migration and access to cities.

4. Positive correlation between rural-
urban migration and rural-urban
integration & commercialization
of agriculture.

5. Positive correlation between rural-
urban migration and level of formal

6. Positive correlation between rural-
city migration and occupational skill

7. Unclear, assumed mixed impact on
rural-urban migration of development-
induced rural income growth.

Implications for Development Activities

Development activities which reduce pop-
ulation growth or increase cultivatable
land should, in the long run, reduce
rural-urban migration.

Activities which distribute land more
equitably will probably reduce rural-
rural & rural-small town migration,
and may reduce rural-city migration.
Activities which increase rural access
to cities will probably stimulate
rural-urban migration.
Activities which increase rural-urban
integration and commercialization of
agriculture may stimulate rural-urban

Activities which raise levels of formal
education will almost always stimulate
rural-urban migration.

Activities which raise skill levels
may stimulate rural-city migration.

Activities which raise rural incomes
may either increase, decrease, or
have no net effect on rates of rural-
urban migration.a

a Activities which distribute land more equitably, increase
commercialization of agriculture, and raise rural incomes
will probably induce growth of urban production and
employment through intersectoral linkages. Most of the
induced growth will probably accrue to market towns and
regional centers; consequently, these urban centers are
expected to experience increased in-nigration as a result
of the development activities.

Relevant generalizations are listed in Table 1. Each empirical
generalization in the Table has implications concerning develop-
ment activities in rural areas. The Table suggests that many develop-
ment activities may tend to stimulate additional rural-urban migration;
however, this conclusion is only tentative. The rural-urban mi-
gration impacts of actual development projects depend upon the
detailed characteristics of both the specific development activity
and the rural area into which it is introduced. The next chapter
investigates the potential migration impacts of several types of
development activities.


1Ravenstein (1885 and 1889).

2Lee (1966).
Origin and destination factors are important in other
migration theories. For example: "push" and "pull" factors in
the push-pull approach; rural and urban control subsystems in
Mabogunje's systems theory of rural-urban migration (1970);
"place utility" considerations in Wolpert's behavioral approach
(1965 and 1966); costs and benefits in the human capital approach
(Sjaastad, 1962); also see Ravenstein's "laws of migration" (1885
and 1889).

Risk has been considered by several migration theorists:
Kunzets, Thomas,et al., as cited in Brigg (1973: 4), Findley (1977:
10), Mabogunje (1970), Shultz (1978).

For a good discussion of rural demand stimulated urban
growth see Mellor (1976).

Intervening obstacles are important in several other
migration theories. See: impact of distance in gravity (Zipf,
1946) and intervening opportunities (Stouffer, 1940) models,
Ravenstein's laws (1885 and 1889), costs in the human capital
approach (Sjaastad, 1962).

For reviews of these studies see Findley (1977), Brigg
(1973), Yap (1975), Shaw (1975), Todaro (1976), Simmons, et al.

The availability of information about potential destin-
ations is an important component of many migration theories. See
Mabogunje (1970), Wolpert (1965 and 1966), Jones and Zannares
(1976), Hagerstrand (1957), Zelinsky (1971), White (1978), Kau
and Sirmans (1977), and Skelton (1977).

Lipton (1978); Connell, et al. (1976); Epstein (1973);
Abou-Zeid (1963).

1For reviews of studies relating formal education and
migration see Findley (1977), Brigg (1973), Shaw (1975), Todaro
(1976), Simmons et al. (1977).

Personal factors are important in other migration theories;
see Mabogunje (1970), Sjaastad (1962), Wolpert (1965 and 1966),
Ravenstein (1885 and 1889).

12Mabogunje (1970); Connell et al. (1976); Friedmann and
Wulff (n.d.); Wilkie (1971) ; Caldwell (1969).

1The relationship between income and migration is rela-
tively complex and discussed more thoroughly in the next section,
"Empirical Studies of Migration."
Some modern theorists suggest that rural-urban migration
is a necessary outcome of development based on the capitalist mode
of production (Amin, 1974; McGee, 1978).
A number of analysts have suggested that migration
selectivity decreases over time (Zelinsky, 1971; Balan, 1969; Simmon
et al.,1977:89; Browning and Feindt, 1969; Connell, et al., 1976:
23-24; Skelton, 1977).

1Lewis (1954); Fei and Ranis (1961).

1Sjaastad (1962).
1Todaro (1969 and 1976: 28-46); Harris and Todaro (1970).

1This is somewhat analogous to the neoclassical general
equilibrium model which indicates that labor will migrate from
low-wage to high-wage areas until real wages are equalized
(Richardson, 1969: 295).
2For a review of critiques and refinements of the model
see Todaro (1976: 30-46), Fields (1975), Steel and Takagi (1978).
2Creation of employment in the urban formal sector is ex-
pected to result in growth of urban unemployment through induced
increases in rural-urban migration (Todaro, 1969 and 1976; Fields,
1975). Job creation in the urban informal sector may reduce urban
unemployment rates but will induce addition rural-urban migration
(Steel and Takagi, 1978).

2Todaro (1969: 147).

2Harris and Todaro (1970: 132-135).

2Hirschman (1958); World Bank (1978); Johnston and Kilby
(1975: 299-327); Mellor (1976); Bell and Hazell (1978).

25Lluch,et al. (1977); Mellor (1976).

2Findley (1977); Brigg (1973); Yap (1975); Simmons,et al.
(1977) Todaro (1976).
2For a listing of studies finding strong economic moti-
vations see Findley (1977: 18-19); Simmons,et al. (1977).

2Findley (1977: 11-13).
2Findley (1977: 21); Simmons, et al. (1977: 51); Brigg

30Findley (1977); Simmons,et al. (1977); Brigg (1973).
Brigg (1973: 10).

3Todaro (1976: 66); Connell, et al. (1976: 204); Selby
and Murphy (1978).

3Findley (1977: 11, 18); Connell, et al. (1976: 7-14);
Lipton (1978): 20-21).

34Connell, et al. (1976: 7-8).

3Connell, et al. (1976: 8); Shaw (1976).
IDRC (1973); Connell, et al. (1976: 7-18); Simmons,et al.
(1977: 47).
3Caldwell (1969); Oberani (1977); Riddell (1970);
Byerlee (1974).

3Adams (1969); Conning (1972).

39Connell, et al. (1976); Lipton (1978).

40Findley (1977: 13).

41Caldwell (1969); Adelman and Dalton (1971); Rhoda (1978);
Abou-Zeid (1963); Salisbury (1970).

42Findley (1977); Brigg (1973); Todaro (1976); Simmons,
et al. (1977); Simmons (1975).

4Findley (1977); Brigg (1973); Todaro (1976); Simmons,
et al. (1977); Simmons (1975).
Several studies indicate a positive correlation between
nonfarm occupations and rural-urban migration: Cardona and Simmons
(1975); Hay (1974); Haney (1975); Findley (1977); Simmons (1975).
Other studies indicate a positive correlation between farm occupa-
tions and rural out-migration (probably rural-rural): Caldwell
(1969); Connell,et al. (1976: 22, 203); Yeshwant (1962).

4Garst (1978); Jones and Zanaras (1976); Fuller and Chapman
(1974); Wolpert (1965 and 1966).
4Caldwell (1969); Speare (1971); Adams (1969); Essang and
Mabawonku (1974); Simmons (1975).

47Browning and Feindt (1964); Balan (1969); Browning (1971).
4Abu-Lughod (1969); Romero and Flinn (1975); Scudder (1962).
4Brigg (1973: 27, 33); Friedlander (1965); Simmons,et al.
(1977: 56); Lipton (1977: 231-32); Connell,et al. (1976).

50India (Connell et al., 1976); Lipton, 1978); Bihar,
India (Sovani, 1965); Nepal (McDougall, n.d.); Ivory Coast (Joshi,
1973); San Salvador (Lipton, 1978: 13); Ghana (Caldwell, 1969;
Foster, 1965a); Kenya (Todaro, 1975); Philippines (Hart, 1971);
North India (Connell, et al., 1976); Egypt (Abu-Lughod, 1969;
Abdel-Fadil, 1975).

5Tanzania (Sabot, 1972); Ivory Coast (Joshi, 1973);
Upper Volta (Skinner, 1965); Liberia (Riddell, J. C., 1970);
Ghana (Caldwell, 1969).
52India (Connell,et al., 1976; Lipton, 1978); Thailand
(Sakdejayont, 1973); Philippines (Hart, 1971).

5Colombia (Haney, 1965); Mexico (Butterworth, 1977);
Brazil (Sahota, 1968); Peru (Skelton, 1977).


As countries develop their level of urbanization tends to
increase. Increased urbanization has accompanied development in
western countries,as well as in rapidly developing third world
countries,such as South Korea and Taiwan. In fact, some have even
defined development as a shift in employment from agricultural to
nonagricultural activities.1 However, this definition is not
widely accepted. It appears that in the present context of the
third world, long-term development requires increased urbanization.
On the other hand, it is possible for countries to experience rapid
urbanization without making real development progress. This situa-
tion has given rise to concern for "overurbanization" in third
world countries.
The question of concern in the present study is whether
development activities in rural areas will accelerate or decelerate
rural-urban migration. As discussed in the previous chapter, a
number of basic factors suggest that migration will be accelerated;
these factors include: reduced obstacles to migration, increased
levels of urban-oriented skills, acquisition of modern attitudes
and values, and urban employment generation through intersectoral
linkages. On the other hand, development activities may decelerate
migration by making rural areas more attractive in terms of income
and amenities. This section attempts to clarify this issue by
analyzing many different types of development activities in rural
areas; these activities are discussed under three general headings:
agricultural activities, off-farm employment, and rural social ser-

Agricultural Development Activities

Focus on agricultural development in third world countries
is relatively new. In the past development activities have con-
centrated on urban industrial growth.2 Urban-focused development
policies and investments have stimulated rural-urban migration and

indirectly contributed to problems of urban poverty. Urban indus-
trialization efforts usually were based on Western, capital-intensive
technology. Lack of success with development policies based on
industrialization contributed to the growth of attention on agri-
cultural development. Western experience and technology formed
the backbone of early agricultural development policies in the same
way that it had influenced industrialization policies. The re-
sulting agricultural development policies placed heavy emphasis on
Western style, capital-intensive, commercial agriculture. Primary
concern was placed on increased efficiency and agricultural produc-
tion; equity considerations were generally overlooked. Large and
progressive farmers were the first (and sometimes only) ones to
take advantage of agricultural development programs. Recently,
international development agencies have voiced heavy concern for
equity; however, most third world countries have continued to put
primary emphasis on efficiency and production.3
There are numerous types of agricultural development activi-
ties; different activities often are grouped into development pack-
ages. For example, the package might include irrigation, new
varieties of seed, subsidized credit, increased extension, and
improved marketing arrangements. Each different component of a
package may have a different impact on rural-urban migration; there-
fore,an attempt is made in this section to analyze the migration
impacts of each specific component.

Land Reform

Land reform is often advocated on the grounds of both
equity and efficiency. Rural land ownership is very inequitable,
especially in North Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and in
some Asian countries, such as the Philippines.4 Land reform can
obviously improve the equity of land ownership. The efficiency
argument for land reform is perhaps more compelling than the equity
argument. Data from a variety of Latin American countries, India,
Taiwan, and the Philippines indicate that yields per hectare are
significantly greater on small farms than on large farms.5 The
primary reason for this difference is that considerably more labor

per hectare is used on smaller farms. Land reforms which subdivide
large landholdings can result in the creation of many small, labor-
intensive, high yielding farms. The increased incomes and labor
utilization are expected to have a negative impact on rural out-
migration. Empirical studies of India and several Latin American
countries provide some support for this expectation by indicating
a positive correlation between rural out-migration and inequitable
land distribution.6
Analyses of actual land reforms are not completely consis-
tent with the notion that land reform reduces rural out-migration.
Though there is considerable evidence that peasant incomes and
production have increased as a result of land reforms, there are
fe w data available concerning the impact on out-migration.
Evidence suggests that some ex-hacienda areas of Bolivia experienced
population growth of 50% to 100% in the decade after the 1953 land
reform.8 This amount of population growth suggests considerable
in-migration. Analyses of land reform programs in Venezuela, Kenya,
and Sri Lanka appear to imply that out-migration was slowed.
However, other studies indicate that land reform may accelerate
out-migration. Land reform schemes in Peru and Iran broke up large
holdings, decreased the demand for hired labor, and stimulated
out-migration of landless labor who did not gain from the reform.10
In an area of Bolivia plots were so small after the reform that
many younger family members had to migrate in search of work.11
Land colonialization is a special case of land reform
which involves resettling rural populations in frontier areas.
Land colonialization is usually very costly and has limited impact
on overall rural employment levels. Resettlement areas may
provide a viable alternative for some potential rural-urban migrants;
therefore,land colonialization may have a slight negative impact
on urban migration. In addition, evidence suggests that some of
those who are resettled come from urban areas;13 this implies that
land colonialization may induce a limited amount of urban to rural
Land reform is difficult to implement in some political
environments. As a substitute tenancy security measures have
been suggested,such as rural rent controls or fixed sharecropping

ratios. Such measures have been criticized on the grounds that
they are often ignored or may lead to tenant eviction.14 Avail-
able information suggests that tenancy security measures may have
limited positive or negative impacts on rural out-migration de-
pending on the characteristics of the local areas and the tenancy
measures utilized.
In conclusion, land reform usually is expected to slow
rural out-migration because it normally increases labor utilization
in rural areas. However, the migration literature suggests that
many of those who might have migrated had it not been for land
reform would probably have moved to other rural areas (or small
towns). Consequently, the impact of land reform on rural-city
migration may be very limited.15 Of course, actual impacts of
specific reforms will depend on the characteristics of both the
reform and the rural situation.

Green Revolution

Technology, often referred to as "Green Revolution," has
enabled some farmers in certain third world areas to increase
yields very rapidly. The technology involves a package of inputs,
the most important of which are high yield seeds and fertilizer.
Irrigation is often a key component because moisture control is
needed for multicropping and full exploitation of the high yield
seeds and fertilizer. Though most attention has been focused on
Green Revolution wheat production in Pakistan and Punjab, India,
the technology has been applied in other areas and to other crops.6
The distributional impacts of Green Revolution technology
have received considerable attention.17 Though the improved seed
and fertilizer technology is inherently scale neutral, in actual
practice large landholders have gained most from the Green Revolu-
tion. Reasons often given for the inequitable distribution of
benefits include unequal access to credit, greater political power
of large owners, extension and development agency focus on "pro-
gressive farmers," differences in risk-taking propensity, and
indivisibilities of related inputs, such as tractors and tubewells.18

Distributional impacts have been particularly severe for tenants.
Several studies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America indicate that
the Green Revolution has led to the eviction of former tenants
by landlords desiring to operate the land themselves.19 The evic-
tions were stimulated by the increased productivity and profitability
of the land and fears by landlords that tenants might acquire legal
claim to the land. It also has been suggested that the Green
Revolution may contribute to breakdown of traditional interdependent
relationships between peasants and landlords.20
Green Revolution results in rapid increases in the supply
of agricultural commodities; consequently, prices may drop precipi-
tously. Small farmers who have not adopted Green Revolution tech-
nology are especially hard hit by the price declines. In many
cases small farmers have been forced to sell out because of Green
Revolution-induced price declines.21
The labor implications of the Green Revolution have been
studied on numerous occasions.22 Though the evidence is quite
mixed, it appears that Green Revolution technology, in the absence
of tractorization, is generally labor absorbing. On the other
hand, Green Revolution technology involves considerable increases
in nonlabor inputs; consequently, the share of labor in the final
product is expected to decline. Studies indicate that backward
linkages to agrochemicals and other inputs are fairly weak. In
contrast rural income growth stimulated by the Green Revolution
is expected to generate additional demand for urban goods and
services, thus generating increased urban employment.
Relatively limited attention has been focused explicitly
on the rural-urban migration implications of the Green Revolution.
Though the labor force absorption ability of the Green Revolution
might suggest that it is associated with reduced out-migration,
empirical evidence in support of this proposition is lacking.
Visaria indicates that the Green Revolution in India created a
great deal of internal migration of landless workers. If tenant
eviction is assumed to generate out-migration, then there is em-
pirical evidence linking Green Revolution to increased out-migration
in Mexico, Chile, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, India, Pakistan, Thailand,

and the Philippines.25 However, evicted tenants may be hired as
landless labors in the area and,therefore,cannot be assumed to
In conclusion, the existing literature is ambiguous con-
cerning the impact of the Green Revolution on rural out-migration.
The migration implications of the Green Revolution seem primarily
tied to the demand for agricultural labor; this suggests that the
impacts on rural-rural migration are apt to be more significant
than the impacts on rural-urban migration. Green Revolution-in-
diced income gains for middle and large farmers may increase or
decrease their and their children's propensity for rural-urban
migration. In any event the rural income gains will generate
some urban employment through intersectoral linkages. Employment
associated with handling the increased production is likely to
be generated in market towns. The induced demand increases for
urban goods and services also will generate employment in market
towns as well as in regional centers and primate cities; however,
employment growth may be more heavily concentrated on market towns
and regional centers. This implies that the Green Revolution may
contribute to the redirection of rural-urban migration (to smaller
centers) though it may not have an appreciable impact on the over-
all volume of rural-urban migration. The actual impacts of specific
Green Revolution programs will depend heavily on local conditions.

Agricultural Mechanization

Agricultural mechanization implies the replacement of human
and animal power by mechanical power in the form of tractors, har-
vesters, threshers irrigation pumps, etc. In the past national
governments and international agencies have favored mechanization
in the general belief that "modern" agriculture is necessary for
development.26 Artificially low interest rates, overvalued cur-
rency, and other subsidies have enabled many farmers to purchase
tractors and other forms of mechanization. For example, due to
subsidies tractors in Pakistan could be purchased for about half
the price charged in the United States.27 Policies favoring
mechanization have been controversial because they tend to replace
abundant labor with scarce capital.

Numerous studies have focused on the pros and cons of
agricultural mechanization. Arguments in favor of mechanization
are based on two premises. First, mechanization is superior to
animate forms of power in many situations. For example, tractors
can provide more thorough or deeper tillage than bullock plows and
tractors can till land that cannot be operated by animate power.
Second, mechanization can result in labor absorption.28 Tractors
can overcome the severe seasonal peak demand for labor in Africa
and other areas; consequently more land can be cultivated resulting
in additional demand for labor ( e.g., for weeding ) in off-peak
times. Tractors are also necessary for multicropping in some
Arguments in opposition to mechanization generally are
based on the idea that labor and mechanization are substitutable.29
The use of tractors, threshers, mechanical weeders, etc., can re-
duce labor demand and exacerbate rural un- and under-employment.
A number of empirical studies have been conducted con-
cerning the relationship between labor utilization and agricultural
mechanization.30 Though there are some conflicting results,
empirical evidence suggests that use of tractors generally results
in labor displacement. Most empirical research on the labor-
tractorization issue has focused on Asian countries; though the
results are mixed, available data suggest that, ceteris paribus,
tractors have tended to reduce labor utilization in Asia. The
result from Latin America is more definite; Abercrombie estimates
that 2.5 million jobs have been displaced by the half million
tractors operating in Latin America.32 There is limited empirical
evidence from Africa and the results are not conducive to broad
generalizations.33 Though in most situations tractors displace
labor, it should be remembered that in some cases utilization of
tractors can increase demand for labor.
Though numerous studies have focused on tractors, little
research has been devoted to the labor impacts of other forms of
mechanization. Mechanical irrigation replaces labor used in irri-
gation but can provide enough additional groundwater to extend
acreages and enable multicropping. Existing evidence indicates

that mechanical irrigation has the net impact of greatly increasing
the demand for labor.34 Limited evidence concerning other forms
of mechanization (threshers, weeders, etc.) indicates a mixed im-
pact on labor utilization.
Little, if any, empirical research has focused on the im-
pacts of agricultural mechanization on rural-urban migration.
Discussions of this issue are normally based on the assumption
that demand for rural labor is negatively correlated to rural-urban
migration. This assumption is not widely supported by empirical
evidence; discussion in the previous chapter suggests that demand
for agricultural labor is more apt to be linked to rural-rural
migration than to rural-urban migration. Based on the mixed labor
impacts of mechanization and the unclear relationship between
agricultural labor demand and rural-urban migration, it is difficult
to make generalizations about the impacts of agricultural mechani-
zation on rural-urban migration. One might speculate that mechani-
zation will eventually displace labor as well as generate urban
employment through intersectoral linkages; therefore, mechanization
may stimulate rural-urban migration in the long run.

Agricultural Services: Credit and Extension

Credit has been considered a key element in agricultural
development. It can accelerate the adoption of new technologies
and contribute to the commercialization of the rural economy. To
be effective credit, as well as other inputs, must be appropriately
utilized. Agricultural extension can contribute to the proper use
of agricultural inputs.
Institutional credit is used by relatively few third world
farmers; the World Bank estimates that 15% of farmers in Latin
America and Asia obtain institutional credit while the percentage
is only 5% in Africa.35 Existing evidence indicates that benefits
from institutional credit and extension have accrued to large
farmers.36 Most institutional credit organizations place condi-
tions on loans which exclude small farmers. Such conditions include
time-consuming application procedures, collateral, land title, and

credit references. In addition, small loans have proportionally
higher administrative costs and are perceived to entail greater
risk of default. It is generally agreed that efficient or success-
ful programs to bring institutional credit to small farmers are
very difficult to implement.3
Empirical evidence is unclear concerning the impacts of
agricultural credit on rural incomes, productivity, or out-migration.
Evidence cited by Findley suggests that in over a dozen different
countries production gains have been associated with small farmer
credit programs supported by appropriate extension activities.
In contrast, a review of farm credit by Dately suggests that it
is rare that credit has resulted in any significant gains in pro-
ductivity.39 It appears that no one has empirically investigated
the relationship between credit and rural-urban migration, although
a study of Brazil implies that a fertilizer loan program may have
slowed out-migration.40 A number of other studies speculate that
unavailability of credit has caused out-migration in several third
world countries.
In conclusion, it is difficult to make generalizations
concerning the impact of agricultural services on rural-urban
migration. These services generally have benefited large farmers
and may have contributed to labor displacing mechanization; this
suggests that out-migration may have been stimulated. On the
other hand, services may have enabled expanded activity, increased
labor utilization, and greater income generation.


Agricultural development activities may either increase
or decrease rural-urban migration; the interrelationships are com-
plex and tend to neutralize one another. Of the different types
of agricultural development activities considered, it appears that
land reform is the most likely to reduce rural-urban migration.
By providing lower income groups with land and increased incomes,
land reform can substantially reduce low-income, rural-rural migra-
tion and may reduce rural-urban migration of this group. The
benefits of Green Revolution technology mechanization and agricul-
tural services have generally accrued to medium and large farmers.

Increased incomes for more well-off farmers may eventually stimulate
additional rural-urban migration. On the other hand, to the ex-
tent that development activities increase real incomes of the
rural poor, they can be expected to reduce rural out-migration
and may even slow rural-urban migration flows. In summary, two
conclusions are offered:
1. The impacts of agricultural development activities
on rural-urban migration are complex and elude
broad generalization.

2. In general, agricultural development activities
cannot be justified on the grounds that they re-
duce rural-urban migration.
The net impact of agricultural development activities on
rural-urban migration is largely dependent upon the specific
characteristics of both the local area and the development project.

Off-Farm Employment

Off-farm activities are an important and often overlooked
source of employment in rural areas. Available data suggest that
off-farm activities are the primary source of employment for 20%
to 30% of the rural labor force.42 In addition, off-farm activi-
ties are an extremely important secondary source of employment
during off-peak agricultural seasons. Small and landless farmers
are particularly dependent upon seasonal off-farm employment.
Together primary and secondary employment in off-farm activities
account for roughly 20% to 50% of the hours worked by rural labor
force. Not only are off-farm activities a very important source
of rural employment, they are growing more rapidly than agricultural
activities in all developing areas except Latin America.44
Rural off-farm employment includes a variety of activities.
Though the sectoral composition of activities varies widely from
area to area, the general pattern appears to be approximately
20% 30% in manufacturing; 20% 35% in services; 15% 30% in
commerce; 5% 15% in construction; 5% in transport; and the rest
in utilities or other activities.45 In almost all cases off-farm
activities are closely linked to agriculture; for example, most

manufacturing activities are usually agriprocessing or designed
to meet farm demand for agricultural inputs or consumer products.
Consequently, growth of off-farm employment is closely linked to
growth in agricultural production and income. Demand for nonagri-
cultural goods and services is relatively income elastic; there-
fore,increased farm income induces rapid increases in demand for
these goods and services. The high demand elasticity for nonagri-
cultural goods and services provides an explanation for more rapid
growth in rural off-farm employment than in farm employment.
National policies can have important impacts on off-farm
employment. Incentives and subsidies to modern capital intensive
industry has in some cases enabled large firms to drive small rural
enterprises out of business. For example, subsidized modern
plastic shoe factories have often had severe impacts on local
artisan shoe industries. Enforced minimum wage policies for
rural areas have reduced labor utilization in both farm and off-
farm activities. Minimum wage laws have tended to encourage the
use of labor displacing equipment, thus reducing employment levels.
Policies such as these restrict growth of rural off-farm employment
and may stimulate migration to big cities.
In this section two types of off-farm employment develop-
ment activities are discussed: rural enterprise programs and
rural public works activities.

Rural Enterprises

Several different types of development activities can be
used to assist rural nonagricultural enterprises. Rural enter-
prises benefit from such rural infrastructural development as
electrification, rural roads, improved water supply, telecommuni-
cations, and vocational training. Provision of suitable credit
can be particularly important to some types of rural enterprises.
Credit for working capital is sometimes more important than credit
for capital investment. Development activities can improve trading
components of rural enterprises by widening markets, facilitating
access to supplies and equipment, improving transport, and handling
and marketing of final products. Special training programs for
entrepreneurs can be established to improve record keeping,

budgeting, marketing, and production processes. Vocational train-
ing programs can be arranged for employees. Rural industrial
estates can be established which provide rural enterprises with
a full rangeof infrastructure, including sites, access roads, elec-
tricity, credit, technical assistance, and labor training. Un-
fortunately, rural enterprise development activities have met
with mixed success in the past.47
The impact of rural enterprise development on rural-urban
migration is dependent on definitions of "rural" and "urban." The
greatest potential for rural enterprise development is in small
towns (sometimes referred to as "rural towns").48 Growth of
"rural" enterprises, whether stimulated by direct development
activities or increased demand from the agricultural sector, is
most likely to occur in small towns and market centers. Such
growth induces employment generation andtherefore,can stimulate
migration from truly rural areas into small urban centers.49
Therefore, it appears that "rural" enterprise development may
stimulate additional rural-urban migration but focus this migra-
tion on small towns and market centers. In the long run, migra-
tion to large cities may be accelerated because small centers
often act as a staging ground for rural migrants on their way to
large cities. Rural enterprises provide employees with nonagri-
cultural skills which can be utilized to gain higher wage employ-
ment in metropolitan areas. Empirical evidence suggests that rural
residents with nonagricultural occupations are more apt to move to
large cities.

Rural Public Works

Labor intensive rural public works have been widely hailed
as a solution to both permanent and seasonal unemployment. Public
works are perceived as being particularly attractive because they
provide both jobs and such needed rural infrastructure as roads,
dams and irrigation systems, electrification, potable water, and
social facilities (schools, health clinics, etc.). Unfortunately,
reviews of previous rural public works projects indicate that they

have had limited success in alleviating problems of rural un- and
The impacts of rural public works can be divided into two
general types: construction phase impacts and operating phase im-
pacts. During construction projects can absorb considerable
skilled and unskilled labor. The immediate impact of labor absorp-
tion reduces rural out-migration and may stimulate reverse urban-
rural migration. Public works employment can provide workers with
occupational skills and experience with work pattern and organiza-
tion of formal sector employment.51 The possession of such skills
and experience may increase future propensity for rural-urban migra-
tion. Spending patterns of public works employees' incomes can
stimulate growth of urban-produced goods and services- for example,
locally hired labor on Mexican rural roads projects spent about
40% of its wages in nearby large towns.52
Operating phase impacts on migration depend on the type of
infrastructure developed. Studies indicate that the benefits of
infrastructure related to agriculture (rural roads, irrigation etc.)
accrue to land owners in proportion to the size of their holdings.53
Thus,large land owners gain most of the benefits; income growth
within this group has an unclear impact on rural-urban migration.
Improved roads increase rural-urban integration and thus remove
an intervening obstacle to rural-urban migration. Evidence from
Turkey, Ghana, Mexico, Peru, and Thailand suggest that road con-
struction may have stimulated rural-urban migration.54 Though
rural electrification and village water supply have been justified
on the grounds that they reduce rural-urban migration, there is
little or no empirical evidence to support this view.55 The impact
on migration of social infrastructure is discussed in the next
section. An often overlooked point is that infrastructure produced
by rural public works generates permanent maintenance employment
which can have a small negative impact on rural out-migration.
In summary, despite the fact that a number of countries have ini-
tiated rural public works programs for the explicit purpose of
slowing rural-urban migration,56 these activities usually have
only a slight, temporary negative impact on migration and in the
long run may actually stimulate rural-urban migration.


Development activities which stimulate off-farm employment
generation will probably increase migration from rural areas to
nearby small towns and market centers. The impact on migration to
big cities may be negative in the short run, but positive in the
long run. Rural public works account for only a very small frac-
tion of off-farm employment; therefore, rural enterprise (primarily
private sector) will have a far greater impact on migration. On
the other hand, public works activities are influenced more easily
by development agencies.

Development of Rural Social Services

The development of improved social services often is justi-
fied on both humanitarian and economic grounds. Better health
services, water supply, diet, and education are directly related
to the welfare of rural populations. Such services lead to higher
levels of productivity and,therefore,can be justified for economic
reasons. Attempts have been made to argue that development of
improved social services can reduce rural-urban migration by
making rural areas more attractive places to live. Unfortunately,
this argument is not supported by empirical evidence. This section
investigates this issue by analyzing the rural-urban migration im-
pacts of rural education, family planning, and health services.

Rural Education

The most widespread observation of migration studies is
the strong correlation between level of formal education and rate
of urban migration. Formal education provides youth with skills
which are far more applicable in cities than in rural areas; con-
sequently, they move in large numbers to urban areas. Development
of improved formal education in rural areas may keep some youth
and even their families from moving to towns to attend better
schools; however, when education is completed increased rural-
urban migration will result. In summary, development of formal

education in rural areas will have a strong positive impact on
rural-urban migration; this is perhaps the strongest generalization
that can be made concerning the impact on migration of development
activities in rural areas.
It is generally agreed that formal education, as tradi-
tionally taught, is not relevant to rural conditions. Considerable
research has focused on the need for curriculum reform and non-
formal education in rural areas.57 Many attempts have been made
to develop curriculum for rural schools which is relevant and
supportive of rural life styles. Programs have been proposed to
achieve mass literacy in rural areas through adult education cam-
paigns. Vocational schools are sometimes advocated for rural areas.
The idea behind these attempts has been to deliver education in
rural areas which improves the quality and productivity of the
rural life without stimulating rural-urban migration. The success
of rural educational reform has been limited. On many occasions
rural parents have demanded academic formal education for their
There is no conclusive empirical information concerning
the impact of nonformal or reformed education on rural-urban migra-
tion. Any education which improves chances of urban employment,
such as literacy or vocational training, will probably stimulate
additional rural-urban migration. Though rural-oriented education
may be essential for rural development, it is not likely to reduce
rural-urban migration and will probably increase it.

Family Planning Programs

Family planning programs which result in reduced fertility
will probably have a negative impact on rural-urban migration in
the long run. Reduction in natural population increase will slow
rural out-migration resulting from the growth of population pres-
sure on arable land. Fertility declines may be experienced first
in more modern families which tend to have higher rates of rural-
urban migration. It also seems reasonable that large families
will be among the first to reduce fertility. Evidence from Africa
and Asia suggests that large families generally have higher migration

rates. In summary, there are several reasons why fertility re-
ductions are expected to be associated with lower rural-urban migra-
tion in the long run. To the extent that other development activities
contribute to fertility decline, they may also make a contribution
to long-term deceleration in rural-urban migration.

Rural Health Services

Development of improved rural health is related to a number
of factors,including potable water supply, diet, sanitation,
disease eradication, and health service delivery. Improved health
services can relieve misery as well as improve life quality; there-
fore,they might possibly reduce the incentive for rural-urban migra-
tion. Health services can increase worker productivity and income
which may contribute to either increased or decreased rural-urban
migration depending on the situation (see discussion in Chapter II).
Improved health should reduce mortality and therefore, increase popu-
lation pressure on migration. On the other hand, reductions in
infant mortality may, in the long run, contribute to fertility
decline and thus slow the volume of rural out-migration. In summary,
the migration impacts of health development activities are mixed
and probably minor compared to the impacts of other development


Development of rural education has made a significant con-
tribution to rural-urban migration. Efforts to improve existing
rural education probably will stimulate additional migration. To
the extent that family planning efforts can reduce fertility, they
may slow rural-urban migration in the long run. Improved rural
health developments will probably have little or no impact on
migration. There is little empirical support for the belief that
the amenity value of improved rural social services will slow
rural-urban migration.

Development Projects of International Agencies

Increased agricultural productivity has been the primary
focus of most international agency development projects in rural
areas. Though some projects have been highly successful, many
have had results that are less than expected or desirable.6
Often projects have had unintended and unanticipated impacts. This
is not surprising given that project interventions are semi-experi-
mental and aim to change the existing socioeconomic system and
induce self-sustaining development. It is very difficult to antici-
pate all the repercussions of induced change. The benefits of
agency development projects aimed at increased production primarily
have accrued to large farmers. This distributional impact was
viewed as undesirable; consequently, during the 1970s the emphasis
has shifted to a growth with equity approach. However, efforts
to change the distribution of benefits in favor of the rural poor
have met with limited success; it appears thatmore well-off rural
residents are still the main beneficiaries of projects sponsored
by big international agencies.61 This may be unavoidable given
the operational procedures of these agencies, the lack of enthu-
siasm for equity on the part of most host governments, and the
inevitable "trickle-up" process. The efficiency-equity issue also
is influenced by available project analysis methodologies. While
benefit/cost, rate of return, and other efficiency techniques are
highly developed, methods for evaluation of equity aspects of
projects are relatively new and unrefined.62 Therefore, it is
not surprising that projects tend to be more efficient than equit-
To date, the primary social consideration of large develop-
ment agencies has been economic equity. The impact of projects on
income distribution is important from a welfare standpoint. Changes
in income distribution also have important implications for control
over resources, asset formation and utilization, and the basic
power structure of rural areas.63 Development projects, if success-
ful in inducing development, are likely to have profound and often
unanticipated impacts on local political economy. With the exception

of community development and mass participation projects, few pro-
jects adequately consider the full range of potential social impacts.
The impacts on local values, attitudes, and behavior patterns (such
as migration) are rarely, if ever analyzed or even explicitly con-
Recent efforts to measure the indirect or "downstream"
effects of projects can provide information about impacts on
migration. Bell and Hazell have developed an approach based on
a social accounting matrix and a variant of the semi-input-output
method. The approach provides estimates of the activity levels
in different sectors both with and without the project. Results
from analysis of the Muda River irrigation project in Malaysia
indicate that for every additional dollar of value added in agri-
culture as a result of the project, 67 cents of value added was
generated in nonfarm activity.65 This growth in nonfarm activity
induced through intersectoral linkages implies employment genera-
tion and migration to small towns and market centers. Additional
utilization and refinement of this methodology may provide a means
to assess the migration impacts of development projects.
A considerable proportion of the total activity of inter-
national agencies is dedicated to development in rural areas; this
is particularly true of U.S.A.I.D. Most of the operating budget
which supports rural-oriented activities is actually spent in
capital cities. These expenditures include rent, supplies, utili-
ties,and salaries. The direct and multiplier impacts of these
expenditures generate considerable employment in cities which un-
doubtedly stimulates additional rural-urban migration. In addition,
much of rural project budget is spent in cities in the form of
salaries of agricultural ministry and other intermediary agency
employees, consultants' fees, equipment, vehicle operation and
repair, supplies, housing, etc. These operating and project ex-
penditures and their multiplier effects are sizeable. It would
not be surprising if such expenditures have considerably more
impact on migration to big cities than the impacts from agency-
induced changes in rural areas (which may also stimulate rural-
urban migration). The migration impact of agency expenditures is

probably most important in the small countries of Africa and Central
In conclusion, it appears that the rural-oriented activi-
ties of international development agencies stimulate additional
rural-urban migration. Despite a focus on the rural poor, the
benefits of projects often accrue to more well-off rural residents;
increased inequity in rural areas may lead to additional urban
migration. Development projects which are successful tend to
induce such social changes as expanded awareness, more modern atti-
tudes, increased aspiration levels, and additional self-efficacy.
Such changes are positively associated with rural-urban migration.
Projects which improve rural incomes may induce urban employment
generation through intersectoral linkages, thereby inducing migra-
tion (primarily to small urban centers). Finally, operating and
project expenditures for rural oriented agency activities are made
primarily in capital cities. Employment generated by these ex-
penditures and their multipliers provide a significant incentive
for additional migration.


Lewis (1954); Fei and Ranis (1961).

The bias toward urban industrial growth continues in many,
if not most, developing countries (Lipton, 1977; Myrdal, 1957;
Findley, 1977; Owens and Shaw, 1972). Examples of the bias include:
export tax on agricultural products, tariff barriers to protect
inefficient import substitution industries, arbitrarily high wages
for urban (government and modern sector) workers, government estab-
lished low prices for food, unrealistic exchange rates which en-
courage import of industrial capital, and concentration of public
investment and services in large cities.

Frank and Webb (1978: 99).

Griffin (1973: 254-55).

Cline (1978: 282); World Bank (1975a); Shaw (1976).

6Shaw (1976); Connell,et al. (1976).

Shaw (1976), in his comprehensive review of the land dis-
tribution and migration literature, indicated that the land reform
impact on migration had not been addressed empirically.

Burke (1970).

Findley (1977: 80-81).

10Simmon, et al. (1977: 104-105); Connell (1974).

1Carter (1964).

2DeWilde (1973: 87); Cline (1978: 319); World Bank (1975a:
5); Findley (1977: 89); World Bank (1978a).
Standing and Sukdeo (1977).

4Cline (1978: 295-298); Johnston and Kilby (1975: 165-166).
It could be argued that effective land reform will in-
crease mid-level rural incomes, may foster increased investment
in education, and eventually contribute to increased rural-urban
migration by the children of those benefiting from the land reform.
One might also argue that increased incomes from land reform may
be spent primarily on urban goods and services, thus generating
urban employment and rural-urban migration through intersectoral

1Griffin (1973).

1Cline (1978); Findley (1977); Griffin (1973); Ahmad
(1972); Bell (1972); Poleman and Freebairn (1973).
18Cline (1978); Bell (1972); Findley (1977); Griffin (1973);
Gotsch (1973).
1Findley (1977: 112); Shaw (1974: 123-130); Cline (1978);
Ahmad (1972); Thiesenhusen (1972).

2Frankel (1973).

2Cornelius (1978: 41-42).

2Cline (1978); Ahmad (1972); Poleman and Freebairn (1973);
Bartsch (1977).

2Cline (1978: 299); Bartsch (1977).

2Visaria (1972).

25Findley (1977: 112); Cornelius (1978: 41-42).

2Cline (1978: 306); Abercrombie (1972: 31, 36); Owens and
Shaw (1972); Gotsch (1973); Barkeret al. (1972: 134); Findley
(1977: 77).

27Owens and Shaw (1972: 56-57).

2DeWilde (1974: 73); Gill (1977); Mellor (1976: 99);
Lele (1975: 33-34); Inukai (1970); Johnston and Kilby (1975: 417-427).
2Gotsch (1973); Ahmad (1972); Johnston and Kilby (1975:
417-427); Abercrombie (1972); Cline (1978: 306-315).

3For an excellent review of empirical evidence see Cline
(1978: 306-315). Also see reviews by Johnston and Kilby (1975:
417-427); Simmons,et al. (1977: 80,47).
3Cline (1978); Binswanger (1976); McInerney and Donaldson

3Cline (1978); Abercrombie (1972).

33Cline (1978); Lele (1975: 33-38). J. C. DeWilde (1973:
74) indicates that tractors have successfully alleviated seasonal
labor bottlenecks in Sudan, Kenya, Mali and Chad.

34Johnston and Kilby (1975: 418); Raj (1972).

35World Bank (1975b: 5).

3World Bank (1975b: 5); Cline (1978: 315); Dately (1978);
Lele (1975: 81).

37Cline (1978: 315); Dately (1978).

3Findley (1977: 114-115).
3Dately (1978: 30).

4Streeter (1973).

41Findley (1977: 113).

4World Bank (1978a: 17).

4Esman (1978: 36).
44orld Bank (1978b 20).
45World Bank (1978b: 20).

4World Bank (1978b: 25).
World Bank (1978b).

47World Bank (1978b, 4b); Lele (1975: 165-66).

48World Bank (1978b: 32-35). Enterprise development in
larger towns and regional centers is not considered as "rural"
in the context of this study.

4Rural uneducated and low skilled can be absorbed into
apprenticeship and other on-the-job training activities; therefore
the rural poor are likely to migrate to small centers with off-
farm employment opportunities. "Rural" enterprises may also in-
clude jobs for higher skilled groups (both white and blue collar);
therefore, some of those who might have moved to large cities will
stay in or migrate to smaller centers to take advantage of new
opportunities in "rural" enterprises.
Lewis (1978); Burki,et al. (1976).
Lewis (1978: 342).
Secretariat of Public Works of the Government of Mexico
(1977: 69).
Lewis (1978); Burki,et al. (1976).

5Turkey (Griffin, 1976: 244-45); Ghana (Caldwell, 1969);
Mexico (Secretariat of Public Works of the Government of Mexico,
1977); Peru (Findley, 1977: 82); and Thailand (Edward Jaycox and
Charles Murry, 1979, private conversations).

55World Bank (1975b); World Bank (1976); Findley (1977: 83).

56Rural public works programs explicitly designed to slow
rural-urban migration: Morocco, Pakistan, Indonesia, Tunisia
(Burki,et al., 1976: 17).

57Findley (1977: 84); Coombs (1974); Ahmed and Coombs (1976).

5Foster (1965b); Rhoda (1978).
59Connell, etal. (1976: 20).

6McInerney (1978: 40).

61McInerney (1978); Frank and Webb (1978); Hartmann and
Boyce (1978); Lipton (1978: 53).

62Bruce and Kimaro (1978); Linn (1977); Little and Mirrlees
(1974); Squire and Van der Tak (1975).

6McInerney (1978: 7); Frankel (1973).
64 l and Hazel (1978)
6Bell and Hazell (1978).
Bell and Hazell (1978).


This investigation of the impact of development activities
on rural-urban migration provides a number of conclusions as well
as implications for development activities, project assessment and
analysis, and future research.

Summary and Conclusions

There are a number of misconceptions and incorrect popular
beliefs concerning the relationship between rural-urban migration
and urban growth and poverty. Many empirical analyses invalidate
most of these beliefs. Instead they show that:
1. Rural-urban migration is not the primary cause of urban
population growth.

2. The socioeconomic characteristics of urban migrants are
quite similar to urban natives; though urban migrants
join the ranks of the urban poor, they also join the
ranks of urban working and middle classes in almost equal
proportion to native urban population.

3. In most cases urban migrants are a minority in urban
slums and squatter settlements even though these areas
may have a slightly higher percentage of migrants than
the total urban area.

4. If rural-urban migration could somehow be halted, urban
poverty would persist because most of the urban poor were
born in urban areas.

5. Rural-urban migration should not be confused with rural
out-migrationorwith urban in-migration; many, and in
some cases most, urban in-migrants come from other urban
areas while a large percentage of rural out-migrants
move to other rural areas.

The main point of these five statements is that national governments

and development agencies concerned with growing problems of urban

poverty should not jump to the conclusion that these problems are

primarily caused by rural-urban migration. Furthermore, as this study

indicates, those who advocate development activities in rural areas

as a general means of slowing rural-urban migration are not fully

aware of development-migration relationships in rural areas.
A review of migration theories does not provide a clear-cut
answer concerning the impact of development activities in rural areas
on rural-urban migration. Economic models, which focus on urban-
rural income differentials, imply that development reduces migration.
On the other hand, more general social theories, which incorporate
a number of other migration factors, suggest that development brings
about changes which stimulate rural-urban migration. Development
reduces existing obstacles to rural-urban migration and changes the
characteristics of rural populations in such a way that they are
more able and willing to take advantage of urban opportunities. The
intersectoral linkage model implies that rural income growth stimu-
lates increased demand for urban goods and services, thus generating
urban employment and rural-urban migration. In an effort to clarify
the conflicting predictions of migration theories, empirical studies
of migration were analyzed.
Though empirical studies do not provide a clear-cut answer
to the development-migration issue they do clarify some of the con-
flicts suggested by theoretical models. Empirical generalizations
which are summarized in Table 1, indicate that different types of
development activities have different implications for rural-urban
migration. In general, activities which reduce fertility, increase
cultivatable land, or act to equalize land or income distribution
appear to slow rural out-migration and may possibly slow rural-urban
migration. On the other hand, activities which increase access to
cities, commercialize agriculture, strengthen rural-urban integra-
tion, raise education and skill levels, or increase rural inequalities
appear to accelerate rates of rural-urban migration. The relation-
ship between rural income growth and rural-urban migration is perhaps
the most crucial and most tenuous. Though a number of studies
indicate a positive correlation between family income level and rate
of rural-urban migration, the impact of income growth on migration
is not known. Because there are good reasons to believe that income
growth may increase or decrease rural-urban migration, we have
assumed that development-induced income growth has a mixed impact
on rural-urban migration.
An investigation was made of the impact of several specific

development activities on rural-urban migration. The findings of
this investigation, which are summaried in Table 2 (pp. 60-63),
indicate that different types of activities have different impli-
cations for migration. Each activity has a set of associated impacts,
some of which may accelerate migration while others tend to slow
rural-urban migration movements. Because of these counteracting
impacts on migration, it is not easy to make broad generalizations.
The influence of an actual development project on migration depends
in large measure upon the specific characteristics of the project
and the area into which it is introduced. With this caveat in
mind, the following tentative generalizations based on the information
provided in Table 2, are offered:
1. Land reform probably has a moderate slowing impact on rural-
urban migration in the short run; long-run impact will be

2. Land rent ceilings and tenancy controls may have a weak
positive impact on rural-urban migration in both the short
and long run.

3. Land colonialization and rural resettlement should have
a weak slowing impact on rural-urban migration in the short

4. Green Revolution probably provides a moderately weak
stimulus to rural-urban migration in the short run;
the long-run impact may be a moderately strong stimulus
to rural-urban migration. Induced migration flows probably
focus on market towns and regional centers.

5. Tractors and related forms of mechanization probably re-
sult in moderate acceleration of rural-urban migration in
both short and long run.

6. Irrigation projects probably have a moderate slowing impact
on rural-urban migration in both short and long run.

7. Increased credit and extension services may have a mixed
migration impact in the short run while providing a weak
stimulus to rural-urban migration in the long run.

8. Development of rural enterprises probably provides a strong
stimulus for rural to small town migration and slight
slowing of rural-big city migration in the short run. The
long-run impact may be a moderate acceleration of migra-
tion to both small and large urban centers.


Table 2. Migration Implications of Specific Development Activities in Rural Areas: Some Rough
Generalizations Based on Migration Literature and Development Project Experience.

Effects on Rural Population

Increase rural production, income
and equity.

Added income may lead to social
change, modernity, education of
Added incomes create demand for addi-
tional urban goods and services.

May reduce demand for hired agricul-
tural labor.

Impact on Migration

Should slow rural-urban migration of
new land owners, in the short run,
and perhaps also in the long run.
Can stimulate additional rural-
urban migration in next generation.

Can generate urban employment and
increase rural-urban migration,
mostly to smaller nearby centers.
Can increase rural-rural migration
of those not obtaining land; may
possibly increase rural-urban migra-

Net Impact:


LAND RENT CEILINGS Can lead to mechanization and evic- Can increase tenant rural-rural mi-
AND TENANCY CONTROLS tion of tenants. gration; may also add to rural-
urban migration.

LAND COLONIALIZATION Provides fresh opportunity for poten- Can cause slight reduction on popu-
AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT tial small amd middle farmers. lation pressure for rural out-migra-
tion. May possibly result in some
urban-rural migration.

GREEN REVOLUTION HIGH Increased income and modernity for Can stimulate rural-urban migration
YIELD SEEDS AND FERTI- large and middle farmers of youth in next generation.
Added incomes create demand for urban Generation of urban employment and
goods and services and modern farm rural-urban migration.
Added land value can lead to tenant May increase rural-rural migration
eviction, unless ex-tenants are absorbed as
agricultural labor.
Increased rural-urban intergation. Can lead to additional rural-urban
Increase utilization of labor per May reduce rural out-migration and
unit of land. possibly rural-urban migration.
Disruption of traditional power Unclear, but may possibly induce
structure and local political economy, additional rural-urban migration.

Development Activity


Table 2 (continued)
Development Activity


Effects on Rural Population

May reduce demand for rural labor.

Impact of Migration

Can stimulate rural-rural migration,
might add to rural-urban migration.

May possibly increase demand for labor Can slow rural out-migration, might
by enabling double cropping or in- reduce rural-urban migration, can
creased acreages. stimulate in-migration from other

Increased rural-urban integration.

Can stimulate rural-urban migration.

Net Impact:


MECHANICAL IRRIGATION Increased production due to double Can increase in-migration from other
cropping and added acreage, added rural areas, may reduce rural-urban
rural incomes in proportion to land migration, in short run.
Increased demand for urban goods and GenerSion of urban employment and
services, rural-urban migration to smaller
urban centers.



Generally benefits large and progres- May reduce migration to urban centers
sive farmers, increases their incomes, in short term. May increase urban
migration of educated youth.

Increased commercialization of agri-
culture, modernity of farmers, and
rural-urban intergation.

Can stimulate additional rural-urban

General exclusion of smallest farmers May increase or decrease rural out-
and landless,increases rural inequity migration depending on whether poor
and poverty, have sufficient funds to finance



Can increase employment and income

Can reduce rural-big city migration.

Added employment and economic activity Will stimulate rural to small center
in small towns and market centers. migration. May add to big city mi-
gration through stage migration.

Acquisition of improved and modern
management and vocational skills.

May increase chances of employment in
big cities thus adding to big city



Can provide immediate employment for
skilled and unskilled workers.

Provides job skills and familiarity
with modern sector.

Can reduce rural-urban migration and
even stimulate urban-rural migration
in short run.

Can stimulate rural-urban migration
upon completion of project.

Net Impact:

Net Impact:

Table 2 (continued)

Development Activity

GENERAL (cont.)

Net Impact:

Effects on Rural Population Impact of Migration

Generated incomes are likely to in- Can stimulate employment generation
crease demand for urban goods and and migration to small urban centers.

RURAL ROADS Increase rural-urban integration and Can stimulate rural-urban migration.
commercialization of agriculture.

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION Increased agricultural and rural May reduce rural out-migration.
enterprise productivity & income.
Increased awareness and rural-urban May increase rural-urban migration.
May be perceived as an important Might possibly reduce rural out-
amenity. migration.

RURAL SOCIAL SERVICES: Formal education imparts modern-urban Will increase rural-urban migration.
EDUCATION skills, attitudes & values.
Nonformal education also imparts needed Will stimulate rural-urban migration,
urban skills such as literacy, modern- but not as much as academic formal
ity, etc. education.

FAMILY PLANNING If successful, fertility declines Will eventually reduce rural-urban
PROGRAMS should occur first in more modern migration.
May also reduce size of largest fam- Will eventually reduce rural-urban
ilies. migration.

POTABLE WATER SUPPLY May improve health, productivity, and May reduce rural out-migration in
rural incomes. short run.


Will reduce mortality and increase
population pressure in short run.
Increase productivity and rural in-

Can increase rural out-migration.

May reduce rural out-migration in
short run.

Table 2 (continued).

Development Activity Effects on Rural Population

Impact of Migration

Net Impact:

Reduced infant mortality can contri- Can reduce rural-urban migration in
bute to fertility decline in long run. long run.


DIRECT & INDIRECT Large operating and project expen- Expenditures and their multipliers
ACTIVITIES OF INTER- ditures in cities. stimulate considerable
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT employment and thus will stimulate
AGENCIES migration to cities.

9. In general, rural public works probably have a strong
slowing impact on rural-urban migration in the very short
run (during construction phase). After project comple-
tion the impact may shift to a moderate stimulus to rural-
urban migration.

10. Rural roads projects may have a strong slowing impact on
rural-urban migration during construction phase; upon
completion, the impact will shift to a strong stimulus
to rural-urban migration.

11. Rural electrification might have a very weak slowing
impact on rural-urban migration in both the short and
long run.

12. Development of rural education might have a slight slowing
impact on rural-urban migration in the very short-term;
however, upon graduation the stimulus to rural-urban
migration should be strong.

13. Family planning programs which reduce fertility probably
have a moderate slowing impact on the volume of rural-
urban migration in the long run.

14. Potable water developments might possibly have a very
weak slowing impact on rural-urban migration in the short
run; long-run impact is weak and mixed.

15. Development of improved rural health services may have
a weak slowing impact on rural-urban migration in the short
run; long-run impact is weak and mixed.

16. Expenditures on rural oriented activities of international
development agencies result in a strong acceleration of
rural to capital city migration.
Again, it must be rerLembered that these generalizations are tentative
at best; actual migration impacts of specific development activities
can only be assessed with any degree of confidence on a case by
case basis.


The findings of this investigation provide a number of impli-
cations for development activities, project assessment and analysis,
and future research.

Implications for Development Activities

The results of the present investigation suggest that past

development activities in rural areas have not resulted in any
appreciable reduction in rural-urban migration. In fact the evidence
appears to suggest that rural-urban migration probably has been
stimulated by previous development projects in rural areas. It
is doubtful that future projects will be much different from past
projects with respect to their impact on migration. In almost all
cases, development activities in rural areas cannot be justified
on the grounds that they slow rural-urban migration. This is one
of the most definite and important conclusions of the present study.
There are several reasons for believing that existing rural-urban
migration flows will not be reduced no matter what types of develop-
ment activities are undertaken in rural areas. Most development acti-
vities tend to have a mixture of positive and negative impacts on
migration. Many activities appear to have net positive impact on
rural-urban migration. While a few types of activities might slow
rural-urban migration in the short run, the long run impacts of
such activities are generally mixed or perhaps even stimulate migra-
It appears that making changes in urban areas is the most
promising approach to influencing rural-urban migration. Suggested
changes for reducing urban migration include urban wage restraint,
elimination of urban minimum wage, removal of subsidies to urban
industries, and easing of food price controls and urban food sub-
sidies. These changes might reduce urban migration; however, they
are very unpopular politically and,therefore,have little or no chance
of ever being implemented. It seems more practical to remove some
of the more obvious subsidies enjoyed by urban areas,1 while
accepting the inevitability of rural-urban migration and dealing
with development and poverty problems where they presently exist
and are expected to exist in the future. Though rural-urban migra-
tion seems inevitable, it might be possible to influence the
pattern of migration by promoting development activities which
stimulate employment generation in regional centers or small cities.
Such activities might be more effective in reducing migration to primate
cities than development activities in rural areas.

Implications for Project Assessment and Analysis

As mentioned at the beginning of the study, development
agencies have allocated limited resources for evaluation of social
impacts of their projects such as on rural-urban migration. Though
there is considerable knowledge about relationships between social
change and migration, this knowledge cannot be used easily to
assess the impact of development projects on migration because there
is limited information on the types of social change induced by
development activities. In other words, if there were better know-
ledge of the social impacts of development activities, then it would
be easier to assess the impacts on migration. The real need,there-
fore, is to establish improved evaluation of social impacts as a
standard practice in every development project. Initial attention
should focus on basic needs,such as health, nutrition, and housing,
and on attitudes toward self-efficacy, development, and the future.
Additional effort should be made also to evaluate more accurately
the impact on income distribution of each development project.
Impacts on basic needs and on income distribution are more important
than impact on migration and, therefore, should receive first
Detailed migration assessments are not practical as standard
procedures, although the impact on migration should be considered
in the design and analysis of each project. It would be useful
to carefully select a few proposed projects for thorough assessment
of impact on migration. Alternatively an investigation could be
made of the impact on migration of selected existing or completed
projects. Projects which generally are considered to be "successes"
could be analyzed because such projects are likely to be replicated
in other areas. A careful screening of existing or completed projects
might reveal a set of projects which are amenable to ex post facto
migration analysis,using census or existing survey data.

Implications for Future Research

Though the migration literature indicates that numerous
factors are associated with migration, there is limited knowledge

about the relative strengths of these factors in different situations.
It is not difficult to list the impacts on migration for a given
development activity. The difficult task is to determine which impacts
are dominant for the different types of people affected by the project.
This requires very careful and time-consuming empirical research.3
A crucial issue concerns the impact of rural income growth
on rural-urban migration. It is usually assumed that, ceteris
paribus, as a family's income increases, its probability for rural-
urban migration will decline. However, there is little or no
empirical support for this assumption. Though ceteris paribus conditions
never exist, research could focus on those situations which approach
ceteris paribus conditions. For example, suppose an exogenous
factor, like a big increase in the price of a key cash crop, produced
significant income growth without inducing other changes in rural
areas. In such a situation, would probabilities of rural-urban
migration increase or decrease? Would increased income by itself
foster social changes which stimulate migration? Such social
changes include rising expectations; increased consumption of, and
desire for, urban goods and services; increased investment in the
education of youth; and availability of the resources needed to
visit cities or even migrate there. The impact of income growth
on rural-urbanmigration is expected to vary considerably from rural
society to rural society. The issue is definitely in need of addi-
tional empirical research.
Another important issue uncovered in this investigation
is the general lack of attention paid to migration origins and
destinations. Too often the implicit assumption is made that rural
out-migrants go to cities and that urban in-migrants come from rural
areas. Though the importance of rural-rural and urban-urban migra-
tion is often mentioned, it still seems to be frequently overlooked.
Though there are a number of studies which support the bimodal "worse
off rural-rural, better-off rural-urban" migration flow model, addi-
tional empirical validation is needed. Such empirical validation could
come from secondary analyses of the existing large number of surveys
on rural out-migration.


Lipton (1977: 328-52).
A detailed assessment of the impact of projects on migration
should be incorporated into the standard evaluation plan. The
assessment might include parallel monitoring of migration from the
project area and from a similar control area. To capture adequately
the impacts on migration, a relatively large sample would have to
be monitored over a lengthy period of time, perhaps five years.
Needless to say, this type of evaluation would be expensive.

Anthropologists, working at the village level, could pro-
vide interesting insights into dominant factors and causal linkages
between development activities and rural-urban migration. An
interesting study might involve two relatively similar villages,
one which is subjected to a development activity and the other which
is not. This type of study might provide useful information on a
whole range of impacts of a development activity, only one of which
would be on rural-urban migration. Another approach might be the
utilization of survey data (previously collected, if appropriate)
in a causal modeling (Blalock, 1964) or other statistical technique
which attempts to identify dominant factors and causal linkages.
Though these approach could provide useful insights, they are
time consuming and, thus, expensive.


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