March 2015

IZA DP No. 8926: The Winner Takes It All: Internal Migration, Education and Wages in Ethiopia

published in: Migration Studies, 2015, 3(3), 417-437

Previous studies of migration have mainly examined international dynamics. Yet, internal migration is an important issue, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using the 2001 Ethiopia Child Labor Survey, a nationally representative household survey, this paper examines internal migration in Ethiopia, focusing on the linkages among internal migration, education and wages. The results suggest that migrants are better educated and obtain higher wages than non-migrants, controlling for other factors (including education), and also obtain higher returns to their education. In other words, the more educated reap higher returns from their education as a main effect, as well as higher returns to their education from migration than non-migrants – that is, "the winner takes it all." This result should be of concern to policy makers in Ethiopia and elsewhere – especially in Sub-Saharan Africa – since individuals with low levels of education already are in a vulnerable group. The study therefore also discusses the policy implications of these results.