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Does poverty alleviation increase migration? evidence from Mexico

Oliver, Azuara (2009): Does poverty alleviation increase migration? evidence from Mexico.

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Abstract

What is the long term effect of conditional cash transfers (CCT) on labor and migration decisions? There is scientific evidence that support short run positive effects of CCT on the levels of nutrition, health and schooling. However, there is little evidence on their long term effects on labor and migration decisions. The experimental data is limited for this purpose. I examine the short and long term effects of Progresa-Oportunidades on migration using a regression discontinuity design. The paper identifies the effects of the program among villages with poverty levels close to the cutoff point of the original eligibility criteria. The estimates show that the program caused a drop in the population size and changed the gender composition of Mexican rural villages between 1997 and 2005. Migration of fully covered village accounts for a reduction of 10 percentage points during the period. The reduction of males is significantly higher than for females, a clear sign of its effect on migration decisions.

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