Migration and technological change in rural households: Complements or substitutes?

Mendola, M. JDE 2008 

Migration and technological change in rural households: Complements or substitutes?

In this paper we study the interrelationship between determinants of migration, conceived as a family strategy, and the potential impact of having a migrant household member on the people left behind. Labour migration is often related to poverty but, given its lumpy-investment nature, lack of resources may constitute both a motivation and a hurdle to migrate. We use a cross-sectional household survey from rural Bangladesh to test whether migration is a diversification strategy that enables sending households to uptake high-yielding seed technology. We account for heterogeneity of migration constraints by differentiating between temporary-domestic, permanent-domestic and international movement. We find that households able to engage in costly high-return migration (i.e. international migration) are more likely to employ modern farming technology, thereby achieving higher productivity. Poorer households, on the other hand, are unable to overcome the entry costs of cross-border movement and fall back on low net-return (i.e. domestic) migration, which does not drive production enhancements and may act as a poverty-trap.

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About Semee Yoon 윤세미

Semee Yoon is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development and Cooperation at Underwood Int'l College & Grad School of Int'l Studies at Yonsei University. Her research interests lie primarily at the nexus of development and environmental economics, especially in energy and health, to enhance household livelihoods. She is also interested in climate change adaptation projects and policies in developing countries, especially regarding energy-related issues (smart grids and renewable energy). Currently, she is working on the microeconomic analysis of Vietnamese households' livelihoods; promoting the use of solar technology in India; migration in China; and transboundary air pollution and health in East Asia.
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