Wednesday, July 3

Are human rights and economic well-being substitutes? The evidence from migration patterns across the Indian states

This was a very interesting paper. But the highlights and abstract first


Intra-national migration as a tool to measure revealed preferences for human rights protection and economic well-being
Economic well-being can serve as a substitute for bad protection of human rights
Results are not driven by discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups or type of human rights violations considered
Human rights complaints are interpreted in the opposite way by migrants to states with high and low trust into the government
The effect is driven by states with high TV penetration


The objective of this paper is to study the relationship between the demand for human rights and the demand for economic prosperity from the “exit” perspective, looking at migration patterns. We investigate intra-national migration in India, which is a federation of various states that feature significant economic and political differences. The paper finds that the quality of human rights protection and the economic well-being in the target state are substitutes with respect to determining patterns of migration. These results depend on framing effects; human rights complaints appear to be interpreted differently by migrants, depending on the trust in the government in the target state.

First. Here’s the regression model

View the MathML source

for all i ≠ j

where Migrij denotes the number of migrants from state i to state j; Inci and Incj represent the income per capita in states i and j, respectively; HRi and HRj indicate the number of human rights violations complaints in states i and j, respectively; Distij is the highway distance between the capitals of these two states;CommonLangij is a dummy that is equal to 1 if both states belong to the same linguistic zone; and Controlsiand Controlsj represent the set of control variables for states i and j, respectively. Thus, the estimated equation is essentially a gravity model in which we regress the number of migrants from one state to another state on the income per capita in the target state and the origin state, the human rights violations complaints in these two states, and interaction terms between human rights violations complaints and income.

I really really like this formulation. Fascinating, very well done indeed. Simple but very intuitive.

But with the elections coming up, people need to think through how states approach their twin goals of security (as per human rights maintenance and enhancement versus economic growth. The news isn't as clear cut. When you are poor as a state, people will take off from your state if you are bad at human rights. But people can go to a state with higher economic growth but with potentially lower levels of human rights.


No comments: