Ethnic identity and internal migration decision in Indonesia

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Due to differences in geographical situations and other ethnic-specific factors, different ethnic groups have developed different preferences towards migration as part of their socioeconomic norms. An ethnic group’s social norms provide a sense of identification and belonging to its members, and are hence likely to influence the decision-making of the individuals within the group. We hypothesise that the effects of these norms will be attenuated when one’s ethnic group is in the majority in their community. This case has been established in social psychology studies on the salience of social categories. Using the Indonesia Family Life Survey (IFLS) panel dataset combined with the 2000 and 2010 Indonesia population census data, this paper empirically investigates the role of ethnic identity in individuals’ internal migration decisions in Indonesia. The estimation exploits variation in whether an individual is living as a part of the ethnic majority or minority within their community, to explain the migration rates variation. The results demonstrate that while the individuals from more mobile ethnic groups tend to have a higher probability to migrate compared to those of less mobile ethnic groups, the effect is weakened when the individuals live as part of the majority ethnic group in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2841-2861
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • Ethnic identity
  • internal migration
  • social norms


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