Rural—Urban Migration, Unemployment and Job Probabilities: Recent Theoretical and Empirical Research

  • Michael P. Todaro
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


Until recently, research on rural—urban migration in less developed countries has been largely dominated by the work of geographers, demographers and sociologists. For the most part, economists have preferred to ignore migration while operating within the confines of their traditional ‘two-sector’ models. In the case of a ‘closed’ economy these sectors usually consisted of the agricultural and the industrial with the implicit understanding that one could substitute ‘rural’ for ‘agricultural’ and ‘urban’ for ‘industrial’. Emphasis has been placed on traditional economic variables such as output growth rates, terms of trade, savings and investment, and relative efficiency. The efficient allocation of human resources between sectors, if discussed at all, has been assumed to be a natural out-growth of a self-adjusting mechanism which functioned to equate sectoral marginal productivities. Rural—urban migration was portrayed as a manifestation of this self-adjusting mechanism (with its implicit full-employment assumptions) and, as such, was not deemed to be of sufficient intrinsic importance to warrant detailed theoretical and empirical investigation.


Wage Differential Destination Model Urban Migration Urban Sector Wage Subsidy 
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Copyright information

© The International Economic Association 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael P. Todaro
    • 1
  1. 1.The Rockefeller FoundationUSA

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