Many economists recognize that labor migration is one of the most direct strategies for escaping poverty. Yet, considerable debate remains over whether and how migration affects communities of origin over the long run. This paper provides new evidence of one channel through which circular labor migration has lasting effects on origin communities: by raising human capital formation of the next generation. We estimate the net effects of labor migration from Malawi to the South African mines using a difference-indifferences strategy, along with newly digitized Census and administrative data on access to mine jobs, and two plausibly exogenous shocks to the option to migrate. Twenty years after these shocks subsided, human capital is 4.8-6.9% higher among cohorts who were eligible for schooling in those communities of origin with the easiest access to migrant jobs.
Dinkelman, T.; Mariotti, M. The long run effects of labor migration on human capital formation in communities of origin. (2015) 55 pp.