Migration, Risk and the Intra-Household Allocation of Labor in El Salvador
We use panel data from El Salvador to investigate the intra-household allocation of labor as a risk-coping strategy. We show that adverse agricultural productivity shocks primarily increased male migration to the US with much smaller effects on female migration. This is consistent with the observation that the bulk of households allocated no women to the agricultural sector. These shocks also increased the number of hours that the household devoted to agricultural activities. These results do not contradict each other if one considers the possibility that the shocks had non-monotonic effects on shadow wages during the survey period. In contrast, damage sustained from the 2001 earthquakes exclusively stunted female migration. We argue that the reasons for this were that the earthquakes increased the demand for home production and that most men in our data are not engaged in domestic production at all.
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