Working Paper

Aid and Internal Migration in Malawi


  • Lanati
  • M.
  • Sanfilippo
  • M.
  • Santi
  • F.
Publication Date

This paper uses geographically disaggregated data to investigate the role of foreign aid as a pull factor for internal migration in Malawi over the period 1998-2008. Employing a standard gravity model of migration, we show a positive relationship between the volume of foreign assistance a district receives and the number of immigrants. While aid makes districts more attractive as migrant destinations, there is no evidence of a corresponding push factor effect on internal mobility. We also dig deeper into the mechanisms through which foreign aid can shape internal migration decisions. According to our results, the positive welfare effects of foreign assistance manifest themselves not only through a rise in economic opportunities, but also in improved access to public services in recipient districts.


JEL Classification
F35, R2, O55

Key Words

  • Foreign Aid
  • Internal Migration
  • Malawi
  • Sub-Saharan Africa