Institute for Social and Economic Change

Working Paper: 281

Higher Wages, Cost of Separation and
 Seasonal Migration in India


Jajati Keshari Parida
S Madheswaran



In this paper, an attempt is made to study the phenomenon of seasonal migration in India and its determinants by using the recent (2007-08) National Sample Survey (NSS) data. The theoretical model used to study the determinants of seasonal migration is based on the utility maximisation principle developed by Stark and Fan (2007). It was found that presently there is a shift in the migration pattern from permanent migration to temporary and short duration migration, which is guided by employment related factors. The empirical result supports the theoretical argument that higher wages and the cost of separation shape seasonal migration to a significant degree in India. In light of these findings, it is suggested that seasonal migration be controlled for those who are physically, socially and economically vulnerable. With this objective in mind, the government should ascertain the reasons for the failure of MGNREGS in controlling distress migration in India and ensure its successful implementation.

Working Papers