Migration and fertility decisions are highly integrated, and policies ignoring that relationship can threaten economic growth

Read “To stay or migrate? When Becker meets Harris-Todaro” by Pei-Ju Liao, Ping Wang, Yin-Chi Wang, and Chong Kee Yip here.

Household locational and fertility preferences are complicated and interconnected: a family’s choice to migrate is affected by the number of children they envision having, including the costs to support them. In this VoxDevTalk, Ping Wang discusses his recent work with a team of co-authors in which they examine the trade-offs of rural-to-urban migration and fertility preferences, and how both of those affect greater macroeconomic development. 

In the context of China, the authors build a model for migration and fertility preferences and test how locational decisions differ under various policy constraints – namely China’s One Child Policy that limits fertility as well as two other land and migration policies that constrict migration flows. Their results show that policy constraints can have negative impacts on practical indicators such as output per worker, and that failure to account for migration and fertility preferences in policy decisions can impede economic growth. 

Urban-rural migration Urbanisation China One child policy Fertility preferences