A field experiment on integrating rural migrants in cities: Mapping the city of Quelimane

Project Active from to Cities

The current rapid urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to lead to both economic development and political destabilisation. How can local leaders integrate rural migrants into labour markets with minimal harm to existing residents? And how does rural-urban migration change the political incentives and behaviour of local leaders, existing residents, and migrants themselves?

We propose to create a map of migrants in the city of Quelimane (population 350,000), as part of a larger project aiming to help the city government integrate rural migrants. The broader programme includes a set of interventions. These include an electronic employment matching platform, professional training, access to mobile money, and tax benefits to local residents hosting the rural migrants.

We will survey a sample of local political brokers, long-term residents, recent migrants, and their still-rural relatives. They will be given access to mobile money services on their phones and a phone app allowing geo-tracking. We will test whether the intervention improves socio-economic conditions of migrants without harming those of existing residents, and whether political views shift. Mobile money and movement data from the network operator will allow us to asses effects of the intervention on remittances and movements to and from rural areas for the migrants in our study, illuminating the wider regional impacts of the program.

We will also implement behavioural measures of group resentments, anti-social behaviour, corruption, and clientelism using lab-in-the-field games. We hope this project can shed light on vital but understudied questions of political economy of urbanisation in the developing world.