Source : Living Conditions Monitoring Survey Report 2006 (CSO Draft)
An interesting chart from an elusive report. I managed to find this chart, as it is relevant to the discussion we had here, but bizarrely not the report itself (the CSO have stopped responding to my emails!). Its obvious that much of the internal migration is within urban and rural areas. Perhaps the rural-urban drift isn't as pronounced as we thought ? Could the poor conditions in urban areas and already high urbanisation (35%) have brought about a natural equilibrium?
Incidentally after reviewing that discussion , it was interesting see how the discussion conflated two separate but closely related issues. The first is whether the rural-urban drift is good or bad. The second issue relates to uneven development - and whether that is good or bad. Much of the discussion from contributors seemed to automatically assume that because "rural urban drift" leads to "uneven development" it is bad! A wrong conclusion!
Rural urban drift by itself is neither good or bad. In fact, I would go as far as to agree with most urban economists that urbanization and economic development are intimately related, and the concentration of resources – labor and capital – in our cities is a part of this process. To the extent that people move from rural areas to urban areas in response to market signals, there is no reason for us to worry about the rural urban drift. However, the problem might be with respect to unpriced externalities e.g. pollution, road congestion and epidemics. The right policy response is therefore to price these things (through an appropriate urban tax), and allow the rural urban drift to flourish. The problem of course is how to set such a tax properly.
The issue of uneven development is really about "spatial inequality". The question is whether, having priced in urban externalities, should we still be worried about uneven development around the country? Presumably yes, for reasons the same reasons we care about income inequality in general. Or is there something special about "spatial inequality"? I do accept that theoretically income inequality can increase without changes in urban-rural inequality. My question is whether spatial inequality is special.
Would be interested to hear what the contributors from the first rural-urban drift post think.