Gains and Losses from Internal Migration: Evidence from Migrant-Sending Households in Ghana
Teye, Joseph Kofi
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Migration is a common strategy adopted to escape poverty and improve living standards, but it is not without risks and there are no guarantees of success. We analyse the impact of migration on the welfare of migrant-sending households in Ghana by exploring what their living standards might have been had their migrant members remained at home. We do this by estimating a counterfactual consumption distribution for households with migrants. We examine the importance of selection bias and compare results obtained with and without selection controls. We illustrate how sensitive conclusions about the welfare gains of migration are to the decision to address selection issues. We present preliminary results which suggest that estimated gains are sensitive to whether and how we address selection bias. While the uncorrected results suggest an average gain from migration for households with migrants, once we control for potential selection bias we find that on average households with migrants are worse off than they might have been had their members stayed at home. Our selection corrected results also suggest that initially better off households are more likely to experience gains from migration and that poorer households lose out. Our results are consistent with qualitative research conducted with a small sample of migrants from our migrant-sending households.