ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Migrants and the Native Bond - An Analysis of Microlevel Data from Delhi

An Analysis of Microlevel Data from Delhi Alaka Malwade Basil Kaushik Basu Ranjan Ray The present paper studies the role of economic variables and culture in determining a migrant's decision to (a) return to his place of origin, and (b) remit money. It is based on a sample of nearly two thousand migrant households from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, now living in a resettlement colony in Delhi. The data are used to examine many questions: Does ethnicity matter? How does the length of stay in Delhi affect a migrant household's propensity to return to its origin and its propensity to remit money? How does caste affect behaviour? Is there a connection between remittance and a household's income? The extent to which these variables are compatible with the economist's scheme Introduction and Data Base ACCORDING to a dominant tradition in economics, an agent's decision to migrate depends on the difference in expected incomes between the places of origin and destination.1 This 'economic' theory has in turn generated a large dissenting literature emphasising the role of sociological and demographic variables in understanding migration.2 The present paper is an attempt to place in perspective the role of economic and non-economic arguments in analysing migration and the migrant's links with his native place. In particular, we study the significance of ethnicity in migration theory. Does a person's ethnic origin have an effect on his decision to migrate and remit? Our empirical evidence suggests that the answer to this is yes. We also comment on caste, duration of residence and family size. The aim is not to come up with a hypothesis but to present some stylised facts and to contest some of the theoretical and empirical presumptions in the literature.

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