Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Migration and Development in Pakistan: Some Selected Issues

Economic progress entails various shifts in resource allocations. A progressive deployment of factors of production from the primary-goods-producing sector to secondary and tertiary sectors is regarded as a vital concomitant of economic transformation. This inter-sectoral transfer of resources, both human and capital, very often involves geographic transfer because of imbalances which manifest themselves u shortages or surpluses. Viewed in this context, migration performs a useful role by transferring excess labour from the agricultural (rural) to the modem industrial sector in urban areas. In fact, a vast amount of literature, under the rubric of the ‘labour Surplus’ models, has evolved, especially during the 1950s, in which migration is seen as an equilibrating and growth-promoting mechanism leading to reductions in wage differentials, equitable income distribution and elimination of surpluses and shortages. Evidence accumulated during the 1960s and 1970s has also shown that migration could lead to worsening geographic and socio-economic in~ ties. This has led quite a few scholars to characterize migration as a dis-equilibrating rather than an equilibrating mechanism. Not only are the theoretical possibilities Varied, but the empirical evidence is also mixed and inconclusive .

Mohammad Irfan

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