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Escaping famine through seasonal migration

Bryan, Gharad, Chowdhury, Shyamal and Mushfiq Mobarak, Ahmed (2013) Escaping famine through seasonal migration. Yale University Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper (1032). Yale University, New Haven, CT.

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Identification Number: 10.2139/ssrn.2348362

Abstract

Hunger during pre-harvest lean seasons is widespread in the agrarian areas of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. We randomly assign an $8.50 incentive to households in rural Bangladesh to out- migrate during the lean season. The incentive induces 22% of households to send a seasonal migrant, their consumption at the origin increases significantly, and treated households are 8-10 percentage points more likely to remigrate 1 and 3 years after the incentive is removed. These facts can be explained qualitatively by a model in which migration is risky, mitigating risk requires individual-specific learning, and some migrants are sufficiently close to subsistence such that failed migration is very costly. We document evidence consistent with this model using heterogeneity analysis and additional experimental variation, but calibrations with forward-looking households that can save up to migrate suggest that it is difficult for the model to quantitatively match the data. We conclude with extensions to the model that could provide a better quantitative accounting of the behavior.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O10 - General
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies > J61 - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R2 - Household Analysis > R23 - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 15:51
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2019 00:48
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/101966

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