Does Access to Foreign Markets shape Internal Migration? Evidence from Brazil

Available from: 
July 2014
Paper author(s): 
Laura Hering (Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Tinbergen Institute, the Netherlands)
Rodrigo Paillacar (University of Cergy-Pontoise, France)
Demographic Economics - Migration
Globalization - Trade

This paper investigates how internal migration is affected by Brazil's increased integration into the world economy. We analyze the impact of regional differences in access to foreign demand on sector-specific bilateral migration rates between the Brazilian states for the years 1995 to 2003. Using international trade data, we compute a foreign market access indicator at the sectoral level, which is exogenous to domestic migration. A higher foreign market access is associated with a higher local labor demand and attracts workers via two potential channels: higher wages and new job opportunities. Our results show that both channels play a significant role in internal migration. Further, we find a heterogeneous impact across industries, according to their comparative advantage on the world market. However, the impact of market access is robust only for low-educated workers. This finding is consistent with the fact that Brazil is exporting mainly goods that are intensive in unskilled labor.


Research section: 
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