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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Modeling the behavior of labor migration in Thailand : does the wage play an important role in labor migration Phasuk, Suvaporn


This dissertation uses individual-level data from Thailand’s Labor Force Survey to explain labor migration, with special attention to the effect of wage rates. By using the nested logit model, and dividing the provinces into four regions, the model fits well with regard to the flexibility of independent irrelevant alternatives for migrants who move to a province to look for a job. The results show that wage rates have the largest effect of all factors on labor migration decisions. A 1% increase in wages in a province leads to an average increase of 3% in the probability of single male migrants in agricultural and non-agricultural sectors moving to such a province to find a new job. Nonetheless, in a struggling economy, food and housing expenses become dominant factors. For single male migrants in the agricultural sector moving to a province, the effect of rice prices on that decision is statistically insignificant. The effect of the non-agriculture sector wage on labor migration was significant, positive, and relatively large. If there is a 1% increase in non-agriculture sector wages of a province, it raises the probability of single male migrants migrating to that province by 4.63%, an impressively elastic response. This research also found that agricultural workers had zero benefit in terms of their wage rate from raising rice prices, and thus raising prices of agricultural products did not induce workers to move to the agricultural sector.

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