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Migrating Away from a Seasonal Famine: A Randomized Intervention in Bangladesh

  • Chowdhury, Shyamal
  • Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq
  • Bryan, Gharad

The rural northwestern districts of Bangladesh, home to 10 million people, experience a preharvest seasonal famine, locally known as Monga, with disturbing regularity. Surprisingly, outmigration from the Monga-prone districts is not all that common. This research tests whether migration could play any role in Monga mitigation. We implemented a randomized intervention that provided monetary incentives to individuals in Monga-prone regions to seasonally outmigrate during the pre-harvest season. We experimentally varied the conditionalities attached to the incentives, such as a requirement to form a group and migrate jointly (as opposed to migrating individually), sometimes assigning migration partners and the destination, and varying group size. This paper reports just the first stage results of this randomized intervention project, where we focus on household responsiveness to our incentive offers in terms of their decision to migrate. Our cash and credit incentives had a very large effect on migration propensity: over 40% of those receiving an incentive choose to migrate, whereas only 13% of control households do. This large effect is consistent with the presence of savings or borrowing constraints for these households, since providing information on wages and employment conditions at destinations only has a negligible 2 percentage point impact on the propensity to migrate relative to the control group.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/19224/1/MPRA_paper_19224.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 19224.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:19224
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  1. Todaro, Michael P, 1969. "A Model for Labor Migration and Urban Unemployment in Less Developed Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 138-48, March.
  2. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  3. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  4. Stark, Oded & Bloom, David E, 1985. "The New Economics of Labor Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 173-78, May.
  5. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017, June.
  6. Stark, Oded & Levhari, David, 1982. "On Migration and Risk in LDCs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 191-96, October.
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