Individual Migration Decision Analysis

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Migration decision can be of two types: individual decision making and family decision making. These two sets of migration decision involve distinctly different sets of factors. Stark (1991) has rightly pointed out that “…the family, should not be treated as if it were an individual”. So there are differences between individual migration decision and family migration decision. Migration decision depends on a host of factors, some are economic, some are demographic and some are sociological in nature. However, individual and family migration decision are determined by two distinctly different sets of factors. a) Individual Migration Decision: Over the years, impact of individual decision on migration drew attention of various economists (Todaro, 1969; Wolpert, 1965; Mabogunje, 1970; Crawford, 1973; Ritchey, 1976; Sandell, 1977). These studies were mainly concerned about the factors related to individual migration decision, especially in terms of why migrants chose certain destinations. In this connection Wolpert (1965) termed individual migration decision as ‘place utility’ of particular-migrants, and argued that migrants chose particular destinations because they offered the ‘highest place utility’ (or satisfaction). This utility did not necessarily concern about ‘expected wages’ as has been suggested by Todaro (1969). There are other reasons such as psychological factors which compel the migrants to choose certain locations that are closer to their relatives or native places. Emphasizing more on why people migrate the study put forward the ‘stress-threshold’ model which emphasises on tolerating a certain degree of ‘stress’ (or discomfort) in the place of origin by the migrants. The study assumes that individuals have a threshold... ... middle of paper ... ...the model is that individuals make a rational cost-benefit calculation of the expected discounted returns of migration over future time periods, and migration takes place only if the expected returns are positive. The model specifies that while calculating expected returns, migration cost plays a vital role in decision making. The study highlighted two major migration costs, one is economical costs of migration and other is psychological costs of migration. The migration costs are shared between household members who left behind and those who migrate. The migrant is supported by the family in times of need (e.g. urban unemployment) and the migrant sends home remittances to the family for their consumption smoothing and investment activities (e.g agricultural investments). So there is some kind of interdependence between the migrant and the family they left behind.
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