Aid and Internal Migration in Malawi

Economics of Migration

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Aid and Internal Migration in Malawi (joint with Mauro Lanati and Marco Sanfilippo)

Speaker: Filippo Santi (University of Florence and Bielefeld University)

This paper uses geographically disaggregated data to investigate the role of foreign aid as a pull factor for internal migration in Malawi over the period 1998-2008. Employing a standard gravity model of migration, we show a positive relationship between the volume of foreign assistance a district receives and the number of immigrants. While aid makes districts more attractive as migrant destinations, there is no evidence of a corresponding push factor effect on internal mobility. We also dig deeper into the mechanisms through which foreign aid can shape internal migration decisions. According to our results, the positive welfare effects of foreign assistance manifest themselves not only through a rise in economic opportunities, but also in improved access to public services in recipient districts.

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