In this paper we question the pioneering work of Todaro, which states that rural-to-urban labor migration in less developed countries (LDCs) is an individual response to a higher urban expected income. We demonstrate that rural-to-urban labor migration is perfectly rational even if urban expected income is lower than rural income. We achieve this under a set of fairly stringent conditions: an individual decision-making entity, a one-period planning horizon, and global risk aversion. We obtain the result that a small chance of reaping a high reward is sufficient to trigger rural-to-urban labor migration.
Katz, Eliakim and Stark, Oded, "Labor Migration and Risk Aversion in Less Developed Countries" (1986). Faculty Peer-Reviewed Publications. 831.
Department of Economics
University of Chicago Press