The Great Migration

The Great Migration

Rural–Urban Migration in China and Indonesia

Edited by Xin Meng, Chris Manning, Li Shi and Tadjuddin Nur Effendi

This fascinating study compares and contrasts the immense internal migration movements in China and Indonesia. Over the next two decades, approximately two-thirds of the rural labour force is expected to migrate, transforming their respective societies from primarily rural to urban based.

Chapter 10: Making It in the City: Recent and Long-term Migrants in the Urban Labour Market in Indonesia

Armida Alisjahbana and Chris Manning

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian economics, asian geography, asian urban and regional studies, development studies, asian development, development economics, migration, economics and finance, asian economics, development economics, geography, human geography, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration, urban studies


Armida Alisjahbana and Chris Manning 1 INTRODUCTION The crucial role of the urban labour market in providing jobs for rural people is well documented in the case of Indonesia, from the time economic growth began to accelerate almost half a century ago. 1 Research on rural-to-urban migration over the past several decades has focused in particular on the engagement of circular migrants in the informal sector in petty trade, transport and construction, as well as the movement of unskilled rural workers into the country's expanding export-oriented industries. However, there have been few studies examining how these cohorts of migrants have fared over time in the urban labour market, or comparing their jobs and wages with those of nonmigrants. The present study seeks to fill this gap. This chapter examines the earnings and other employment characteristics of migrants and non-migrants working in the formal, small business and informal sectors in four Indonesian cities. One research question relates to the extent to which rural-urban migrants have been disadvantaged in the job market compared with more established urban residents. Another concerns the experience of recent and longer-term migrants in the cities, drawing attention to the potential for greater occupational mobility among the longer-term migrants. We examine the performance of migrants and non-migrants during two very different periods of economic performance: before the economic crisis in 1998 when the Indonesian economy was growing quite rapidly, and during the decade since 1998 when formal-sector job expansion faltered. In the context of the comparison between China...

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