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Disentangling the Effect of International Migration on Household Food and Nutrition Security


  • Donato Romano
  • Silvio Traverso

    (Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa)


This paper explores the linkages between international migration and household food and nutrition security (FNS) from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. First, building on the limited previous literature, the paper develops a unifying conceptual framework for identifying the main microeconomic channels through which international migration can affect household FNS. Second, adopting an encompassing definition of migrant households and using Bangladesh as case-study, it estimates the overall impact of international migration on household FNS. Third, by disentangling the overall effect, the paper assesses the importance of the various microeconomic channels, i.e. the change in the household structure, overseas remittances and the presence of returned migrants. The empirical strategy is based on a multiple treatment counterfactual framework, using a linearized propensity score matching technique. On the one hand, the estimates indicate that international migration has a positive impact on all FNS dimensions, allowing households to consume more food, to have access to more expensive food products and to shift towards a more diversified diet, richer in foods and micronutrients. On the other hand, the disentanglement of the impact corroborates the validity of the conceptual framework and supports the conclusion that the average effect of international migration on household FNS through all the identified microeconomic channels is always non-negative. Finally, the paper contributes to the literature on the so-called ‘Bangladesh paradox’ suggesting that international migration may have contributed to the exceptional progress in health and nutrition achieved by Bangladesh during a period of relatively poor economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Donato Romano & Silvio Traverso, 2017. "Disentangling the Effect of International Migration on Household Food and Nutrition Security," Working Papers - Economics wp2017_12.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  • Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2017_12.rdf

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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Chang & Eriksson, Tor & Yi, Fujin, 2021. "Offspring migration and nutritional status of left-behind older adults in rural China," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).

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