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

  • Tiwari, Sailesh
  • Bhattarai, Keshav

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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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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  1. Dean Yang, 2008. "International Migration, Remittances and Household Investment: Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Exchange Rate Shocks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 591-630, 04.
  2. Woodruff, Christopher & Zenteno, Rene, 2007. "Migration networks and microenterprises in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 509-528, March.
  3. Edmonds, Eric V., 2002. "Government-initiated community resource management and local resource extraction from Nepal's forests," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 89-115, June.
  4. HwaJung Choi, 2007. "Are Remittances Insurance? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in the Philippines," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 219-248, May.
  5. Lokshin, Michael & Bontch-Osmolovski, Mikhail & Glinskaya, Elena, 2007. "Work-related migration and poverty reduction in Nepal," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4231, The World Bank.
  6. Edwards, Alejandra Cox & Ureta, Manuelita, 2003. "International migration, remittances, and schooling: evidence from El Salvador," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 429-461, December.
  7. Quy-Toan Do & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "Geography, poverty and conflict in Nepal," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(6), pages 735-748, November.
  8. Chiswick, Barry R. & Hatton, Timothy J., 2002. "International Migration and the Integration of Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 559, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
  10. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Susan Pozo, 2006. "Migration, Remittances, and Male and Female Employment Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 222-226, May.
  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 3906, The World Bank.
  12. Foster, Andrew D. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2004. "Technological change and the distribution of schooling: evidence from green-revolution India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 87-111, June.
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