Rural Development and Migration - Effects of Rural Development Projects on Internal Migration and Migration Aspirations of Rural Dwellers in Hungary

Horzsa, Gergely (2021) Rural Development and Migration - Effects of Rural Development Projects on Internal Migration and Migration Aspirations of Rural Dwellers in Hungary. PhD thesis, Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem, Szociológia és Kommunikációtudomány Doktori Iskola. DOI 10.14267/phd.2021050

PDF : (dissertation)
PDF : (draft in English)
PDF : (az értekezés tézisei magyar nyelven)


The thesis is focusing on the relationship between rural development subsidies and outwards mobility from rural settlements. In general, the thesis’ aim is to analyse how rural development programmes influence emigration. Hungary, as the EU member with one of the highest social gap between rural-urban population as well as one of the highest ratio of non-urban dwellers, has in its rural development policies the central objective of reinforcing ‘population retaining capacities’ of the countryside, which these documents aim to achieve through rural development initiatives. However, the scientific literature is sceptical about development of migrant-sending areas resulting in lower ratios of outwards mobility. The thesis formulates 4 research questions and employs statistical data analysis methods (linear regression-based path analyses) as well as qualitative methods (interview analyses) to address them. While the former method relies on the investigation of Richard Rhoda (1983) on the topic, the latter method is based on the development-migration analytical framework of Hein de Haas (2014). Research findings suggest that among the least developed locations, rural development funds were more convincingly connected to a rise in enterprises, although funds spent for agricultural development seems absolutely ineffective in contributing to employment (that is, share of employed people living locally). Both these factors influence incomes positively. However, with rising incomes and employment, a much higher level of outwards mobility is expected, while conversely, entrepreneurship seems to reduce the share of those deciding to move away. As these impacts balance out one another, the overall effects of the different forms of rural development subsidies vary, with agricultural investments rather contributing to immobility and non-agricultural payments only doing alike because their incapability to promote new jobs. Interview analyses suggest that voluntary immobility is facilitated by positive changes in local career opportunities (instead of simply jobs), a sense of freedom and independence that the countryside may provide (instead of vivid local cultural life) and strong personal connections (instead of weak community ties). Job creation, at least seemingly, positively influences emigration. A reason for this is that local jobs, especially those created through development programmes are temporary and thus, trail uncertainty – in general, they cannot compete with jobs elsewhere and may only delay migration. Besides the interviews reflecting the wellbeing-enhancing aspect of capabilities to migrate, they also show, that these choices of mobility and immobility, are themselves facilitated by the will of achieving more freedom. From the micro perspective, it is precisely the lack of freedom-enhancing factor of Hungarian rural development programmes, why they seem to be ineffective in trailing satisfactory outcomes. Instead, these are interpreted by several respondents as dependency-increasing interventions, let these dependencies be meant on either the personal or community level. The two empirical parts of the thesis reinforce one another's claims: Instead of jobs and employment, career opportunities (including entrepreneurship and education) and self-actualisation is, that seems to matter in either moving or staying. Instead of local cultural life, basic welfare services and rural idyll in general, it is personal connections and the liberating aspects of the rural idyll that seems to matter in staying. It is unsurprising thus, that those were exactly these aspects of development programmes that seemed to reduce outwards mobility, whereas other aspects had no or even, contrary effects, some of which lies in the very essence and organisational setting of subsidisation. The scientific relevance of the research comes from ● its novelty in analysing development-migration interactions in the Hungarian context based on EU funds of the 2007-2013 budget period and considering rural development resources spent in non-agglomeration villages of Hungary. ● it being the first attempt to evaluate on the settlement level, how rural development programmes contributed to outwards mobility in rural Hungary. ● in a more global sense, this dissertation is one of the few empirical attempts to comprehensively evaluate how development programmes contribute to outwards mobility, ● moreover, it is also one of the few empirical attempts to validly evaluate the effects of EU-funded rural development programmes in general. ● the research contributes to a comprehensive understanding of development-migration interactions and the role of development in migration aspirations. ● it contributes to migration theory by providing empirical support for the migration aspiration-capability framework as well as a possible qualitative method for the better understanding of the different aspects of immobility Practical relevance of the thesis is ● the evaluation of the effects of development projects targeting local communities in Hungary, and the contribution to the understanding of potential limitations of such policies. ● More generally, this dissertation may help in understanding the boundaries and unexpected outcomes of subsidization, which are often trailed by the structure and nature of such interventions, both in intranational and international contexts.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD thesis)
Supervisor:Letenyei László
Uncontrolled Keywords:vidékfejlesztés, elvándorlás
ID Code:1187
Date:2 December 2021
Deposited On:19 Nov 2021 08:15
Last Modified:24 Jan 2022 12:35

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