Spatial inequality, employment seeking behavior and exploitation of young internal migrants in Ghana
Joseph K. Assan (Brandeis University)
Paper short abstract:
The study examines spatial inequality using current shifts in employment seeking behavior and welfare predilection of youth in Ghana. Using data from the Ghana Living Standards Survey 6 and 7, we highlight an emerging socio-economic inequality which is influenced by the ethnicity and spatial identity.
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores the impacts of spatial inequality and associated internal migration. The study examines current shifts in labour/employment seeking behavior and welfare predilection of African youth using Ghana as a case study. The process is perceived to have been deepened by Neoliberal Programmes and the continued adoption of extensive market liberalization and associated fiscal policies. This study utilizes data from the Ghana Living Standards Survey 6 (2012) and 7 (2017), involving longitudinal survey of a nationwide sample of 18,000 households. This analysis focuses on four of the ten administrative regions in Ghana that record the highest number of internal migrants: Greater Accra, Western, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions. The study shows that employment rates amongst migrant youth in urban destinations remain comparatively higher than those of non-migrants. Out migration therefore provides an avenue for rural unemployed youth to gain access to wider employment opportunities. Levels of employment satisfaction reported by the sample also indicates youth migrants have higher levels of contentment with the jobs they find in their urban destinations. Conversely, young migrants are often engaged in less stable, non-contract, non-unionized jobs, making them vulnerable to employer abuses and exploitation. The paper also highlights an emerging socio-economic inequality which is influenced by the ethnicity and spatial identity of young migrants. To address this form of spatial discrepancy, the paper recommends geographical targeting of poverty reduction initiatives and the introduction of job centres, basic income guarantee programmes, health insurance subsidies benefits for young migrants and rapid rural industrialisation in Ghana.
Large-scale migration, remittances and development: historical and contemporary evidence