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Migration, remittances and forests : disentangling the impact of population and economic growth on forests

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  • Tiwari, Sailesh
  • Bhattarai, Keshav

Abstract

International migration has increased rapidly in recent decades and this has been accompanied by a remarkable increase in transfers made by migrants to their home countries. This paper investigates the effect of the rural economic growth brought about by migration and remittances on Nepal's Himalayan forests. The authors assemble a unique village-panel dataset combining remote sensing data on land use and forest cover change with data from the census and multiple rounds of living standards surveys to test various inter-relationships between population, economic growth and forests. The results suggest that rural economic growth spurred by remittances has had an overall positive impact on forests. The paper also finds that remittances caused an increase in rural wages and an increase in income, but a decrease in land prices. Considered together, however, the relationship between forests and remittances is driven largely through the income channel, indicating that the demand for amenities provided by forests in the rural Nepali setting may have been more important than factor prices in influencing land use changes for the period of the study.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5907.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5907

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Keywords: Population Policies; Environmental Economics&Policies; Forestry; Climate Change and Environment; Wildlife Resources;

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  1. Michael Lokshin & Mikhail Bontch-Osmolovski & Elena Glinskaya, 2010. "Work-Related Migration and Poverty Reduction in Nepal," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 323-332, 05.
  2. Dean Yang, 2008. "International Migration, Remittances and Household Investment: Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Exchange Rate Shocks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 591-630, 04.
  3. HwaJung Choi, 2007. "Are Remittances Insurance? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in the Philippines," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 219-248, May.
  4. Edwards, Alejandra Cox & Ureta, Manuelita, 2003. "International migration, remittances, and schooling: evidence from El Salvador," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 429-461, December.
  5. David Mckenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2004. "Network Effects and the Dynamics of Migration and Inequality: Theory and Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics 2004-3, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  6. Barry Chiswick & Timothy J.. Hatton, 2003. "International Migration and the Integration of Labor Markets," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 65-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Quy-Toan Do & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "Geography, poverty and conflict in Nepal," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(6), pages 735-748, November.
  8. Woodruff, Christopher & Zenteno, Rene, 2007. "Migration networks and microenterprises in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 509-528, March.
  9. Edmonds, Eric V., 2002. "Government-initiated community resource management and local resource extraction from Nepal's forests," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 89-115, June.
  10. Foster, Andrew D. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2004. "Technological change and the distribution of schooling: evidence from green-revolution India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 87-111, June.
  11. McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2006. "How important is selection ? Experimental versus non-experimental measures of the income gains from migration," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 3906, The World Bank.
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