Agency, Education and Networks: Gender and International Migration from Albania
Our paper examines the causes and dynamics of the shift in the gender composition of migration, and more particularly, in the access of women to migration opportunities and decision making. We do this in the context of Albania, a natural laboratory for studying migration developments given that out-migration was practically eliminated from the end of WWII to the end of the 1980s. We use micro-level data from the Albania 2005 LSMS including migration histories for family members since migration began. Our analysis, based on discrete-time hazard models, shows an impressive expansion of female participation in international migration. Female migration, which we find to be strongly associated with education, wealth, and social capital, appears responsive to economic incentives and constraints. Yet, using unique data on the dependency of female migration to the household demographic structure as well as the sensitivity of female migration to household-level shocks, we show that it is the households themselves that are the decision-making agents behind this economic calculus and there is little to suggest that increased female migration signals the emergence of female agency.
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