Income Differentials and Migrations

  • R. Cortés Conde


Those who distrust historical statistics are right in doing so, but they would be wrong in rejecting them. In fact, any understanding of statistical information is founded on distrust, and the classical problem of statistics is that of making valid inferences from observations that are known to be poor. To abandon the scraps of quantitative insight into the past merely on the grounds of general suspicion would be as foolish as to regard them as wholly accurate.1


Wage Differential Migratory Flow Income Differential Equilibrium Exchange Rate Receiver Country 
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  1. 1.
    G. Ohlin, ‘No safety in numbers — Some pitfalls of Historical Statistics’, in R. Floud, Essays in Quantitative Economic History (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979) P. 60.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. R. Hicks, The Theory of Wages (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1957) p. 56. In relation to the ‘push and pull effect’ see J. G. Williamson’s more recent work, Late Nineteenth Century American Development (Cambridge University Press, 1974).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    L. Sjaastad, ‘The Relationship Between Migration and Income in the United States’, in Papers Proceedings, Regional Science Association, vol. VI, 1960, pp. 37 et seq.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The problem of the international comparison of purchasing power has been discussed in several works. See, for example, C. Clark, The Conditions of Economic Progress (London: Macmillan, 1940); the study undertaken by ECLA (Economic Commission for Latin America) in 1960–2, and those done for ECIEL (Joint Studies of Latinamerican Economic Integration) carried out by J. Grunwald and J. Carrillo in ‘Integration Económica y Comparaciones de Precios y Valores en la América Latina’ in Estudios Eciel, pp. 65–134, and M. Vega Centeno, Tipos de Cambio, Paridades y Poder Adquisitivo en el Grupo Andino’, pp. 155–234.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    B. Balassa, ‘The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal’, in The Journal of Political Economy, LXXII (Feb./Dec. 1964) 584 and 591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    A. C. Kelly, ‘International Migration and Economic Growth: Australia, 1865–1935’, The Journal of Economic History, 25 (1965) 333.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. A. Dunlevy and H. A. Gemery, ‘Economic Opportunity and the Responses of the “Old” and “New” Migrants to the United States’, The Journal of Economic History, 38, no. 4 (December 1978) 907. Also M. Levy and W. Wadycki, ‘The Influence of Family and Friends on Geographical Labour Mobility. An International Comparison’, Revue of Economics and Statistics, 55 (1973) 198–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    P. Nelson, ‘Migration, Real Income and Information’, Journal of Regional Science, 1, no. 2 (1959) 44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    P. Nelson, ibid.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    P. Nelson, ibid., postulates a positive relationship between migratory flows and past migrations. He states that these are a function of the variables determining the settlement of migrants in the past. He attributes this to information provided by friends and relatives, information that increases the propensity to emigrate.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    On this subject, see G. Laber, ‘Lagged response in the decision to migrate – A comment’ and M. Greenwood, ‘Lagged response in the decision to migrate – A reply’, Journal of Regional Science, 12, no. 2 (1972) 3, 7 et seq.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Charles P. Kindleberger and Guido di Tella 1982

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  • R. Cortés Conde

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