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The unlimited supplies of labor models as presented by Lewis and Ranis-Fei failed to pay attention over migration. They stressed upon saving, investment, growth rate and productive efficiency. But during 1960s the economists realized that the dual economy models presented by Lewis and Ranis-Fei do not have compatibility with the circumstances of UDCs as they are furnished with certain social and economic structure.

In case of UDCs it is being observed that inspite of heavy unemployment and under employment in urban areas a big migration is taking place from rural areas to urban areas. This situation contradicts Lewis model. As during 1960s to 1970s the urban population increased by 60%, 52% and 51% in Africa, Latin America and South Asia respectively. While in these regions the rural population increased by 16%. This shows that the massive unemployment exists in the urban areas of these regions. This, according to Todaro, is due to that mobility and migration which is taking place from rural areas to urban areas. Thus, the Todaro model of rural-urban migration states:

“Despite mass unemployment in cities people are migrating from villages to towns and cities”.

Assumptions of the Model:

(i) The migration is assumed to be an economic phenomenon.

(ii) The migrants make migration to cities on economic grounds, even if they know that heavy unemployment exists in cities.

(iii) The migrants are well aware of with the employment opportunities in rural and urban labor markets. Accordingly, they choose any one of them where their expected gains could be maximized. Thus, the migration proceeds in response to urban-rural differences in expected rather than actual earnings.

(iv) The expected gains are measured by (a) the difference in real incomes between rural and urban work, and (b) the probability of a new migrant obtaining an urban job.


Todaro presents a Schematic Framework which shows how various factors affect the migration decisions. In nut-shell, Todaro says that:

“The members of labor force, both actual and potential, compare their expected incomes for a given time horizon in the urban sector (i.e., the difference between returns and costs of migration) with the prevailing average rural incomes, and they migrate if the former exceeds the latter”.

Todaro assumes the case of labor who is unskilled or semi skilled and he has to face a trade-off between working at farms where his average per day wage is $50/- or he should migrate to city where he can earn $100/- on the basis of his skill or education. In case of tradition models of migration it will be more attractive for the labor to move to city. But such mobility from rural areas to urban areas will lead to reduce the wage differentials. This may happen in case of DCs, However, the UDCs having different economic and institutional framework may not experience such situation, it is because of the reasons:

(i) That UDCs are having mass unemployment and a labor who is migrating to city can not hope to get higher wages as well as employment in the developed industrial cities. Therefore, when any rural worker migrates to city he will have to face unemployment. The maximum employment he can attain will be casual and part time jobs like waiters, porter, typist or a teacher teaching tuitions etc.

(ii) When a labor migrates from rural areas to urban areas he will have to make a comparison between those risks and possibilities which may arise due to unemployment and under-employment in the city, in addition to wage differentials. Apparently, the wages in urban areas are two times higher than rural areas, but such attraction is lost when one finds that there are limited chances of urban employment. For example, if in a period of one year the chance is one out of five, then the probability of securing the higher paid urban job is 20%. In such situation his expected income will be just $20/-, rather $100/-. It will be irrational if the labor migrates to city, in such circumstances. However, if there exist the 60% chances of getting an urban job the migrant will move to city where his income will be $60/-, higher than farm income which was $50/- even there exists chronic unemployment in city.

(iii) If we increase the time element, keeping in view that majority of migrants in the age of 15 to 24 years. In such circumstances the decision to migrate would not depend upon expectations of short run, rather long term factors will affect it. As if the migrant assesses that in the beginning there are reduced employment chances. But later on, when his city relations increase or more urban information become available to him, he will be able to find a better job with higher income. In such situation, he will be prepared to work.

According to Todaro, how long the present value of the expected urban incomes exceeds the rural incomes the migrant will prefer to migrate. Thus, on the basis difference in rural and urban wages the migration will go on taking place. As if the average urban income is $120/- and average rural income is $60/-, the chances of mobility from rural to urban areas will go on existing. All this will aggravate the problem of unemployment in the cities. Thus as long as the difference in rural and expected urban wages will be existing the migration from rural to urban areas will continue taking place, even if the cities are flooded with heavy unemployed.

Characteristics of the Model:

(i) Migration is stimulated primarily by rational economic considerations of relative benefits and costs, financial as well as psychological.

(ii) The decision to migrate depend on expected rather than actual urban-rural wage differentials.

(iii) The probability of obtaining an urban job is inversely related to the urban unemployment rate.

Evaluation of the Model:

(i) If the wage and employment differential in rural and urban areas continue the migration from villages to cities will continue taking place.

(ii) Along with increasing job opportunities in urban areas, there is a need to devise an integrated rural development program whereby the incomes of rural workers could be increased. This will reduce the migration from rural to urban are as the most beneficial advice for the UDCs.