Friday, September 23, 2016

Resettlement as a matching problem: Bazzi, Gaduh, Rothenberg, and Wong on Population Resettlement in Indonesia

There's a lot of discussion of how best to resettle refugees internationally, and of course we might be able to learn a lot about that by looking at the resettlement of internally displaced people, and other migrants.  Here's a recent AER paper that looks at the matching component and finds that it matters who goes where.

Skill Transferability, Migration, and Development: Evidence from Population Resettlement in Indonesia
By Samuel Bazzi, Arya Gaduh, Alexander D. Rothenberg, and Maisy Wong

Abstract: We use a natural experiment in Indonesia to provide causal evidence
on the role of location-specific human capital and skill transferability in shaping the spatial distribution of productivity. From 1979–1988, the Transmigration Program relocated two million migrants from rural Java and Bali to new rural settlements in the Outer Islands. Villages assigned migrants from regions with more similar agroclimatic endowments exhibit higher rice productivity and nighttime light intensity one to two decades later. We find some evidence of migrants’ adaptation to agroclimatic change. Overall, our results suggest that
regional productivity differences may overstate the potential gains
from migration.  

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