Impacts of a New Seasonal Work Program on Rural Household Incomes in the Pacific


  • John Gibson University of Waikato
  • David McKensie World Bank



Seasonal work programs are increasingly advocated by international aid agencies as a way of enabling both developed and developing countries to benefit from migration. They are argued to provide workers with new skills and allow them to send remittances home, without the receiving country having to worry about long-term assimilation and the source country worrying about permanent loss of skills. However, formal evidence as to the development impact of seasonal worker programs is non-existent. This paper provides the first such evaluation, studying New Zealand's new Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) program which allows Pacific Island migrants to work in horticulture and viticulture in New Zealand for up to seven months per year. We use baseline and follow-up waves of surveys we are carrying out in Tonga To form difference-in-difference and propensity score matching estimates of short-term impacts on household income and consumption.


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