A Comprehensive Introduction to Regional Issues
Edited by Masahisa Fujita, Ikuo Kuroiwa and Satoru Kumagai
Chapter 9: Economic Integration and International Migration in East Asia
Tomohiro Machikita 9.1 INTRODUCTION Economic disparity between two countries stimulates international migration from the relatively poor to the relatively rich country. Increasing access to schooling in relatively poor countries can also lead to international migration from poor to rich countries. Countries in East Asia experience increasing economic disparity within each country and decreasing economic disparity between countries (Hill 2002 and Chapter 15 of this book). Rural–urban inequality within each country plays a key role in internal migration from peripheral to core areas in East Asia. Internal migration can lead to rapid changes in urban landscape in terms of economic activities, and labor migration relocates labor expenditures to their working places, that is, agglomeration force is magnified (Nishikimi 2008). Megacities have emerged in East Asia due to inequality within each country and access to global opportunities for economic activities. Global megacities are also concentrated in East Asia (World Bank 2008a, 2008b). Decreasing economic disparity between countries can lead to lower rates of international migration from relatively poor to relatively rich countries in East Asia, but access to schooling in relatively poor countries facilitates outmigration from poor to rich countries. Rapid urbanization in relatively poor countries can also lead to higher rates of international migration from poor to rich countries, because skills accumulated in urban areas could be transferable to relatively rich countries. Countries in East Asia still have large income gaps with developed countries such as the USA. This significant disparity can lead to higher rates of international migration from...
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