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Impact of Migrants' Remittance on the 'Left-Behind Wives': Evidence from Rural Bangladesh

Hashibul Hassan and Lubna Jebin ()
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Lubna Jebin: Jagannath University, Bangladesh

Journal of Developing Areas, 2020, vol. 54, issue 2, 127-144

Abstract: International migration- mostly through temporary job contract by male workers- has become a significant avenue to escape unemployment and poverty especially for the poor and unskilled rural Bangladeshis (Sharma and Zaman 2009). Migrants of this category usually has very little chance to settle permanently in the destination country, therefore they remit most of their income to the home country to improve the current livelihood of the ‘left-behind’ family and increase the productive capabilities of the household (Raghuram 2007). It is commonly assumed that the prevailing large male-dominated migration from Bangladesh brings extended freedom and economic participation of the women from the left-behind families. This research aims to ascertain the impact of the migration of husbands on the status of left-behind wives. The basic assumption of this study is that having husband in abroad can be viewed as ‘treatment’ and thus Propensity Score Matching (PSM) can be used to form the ‘control’ group of households without migrant husband or foreign remittance. By applying PSM on the extracted dataset from the Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey (BIHS) 2015 (IFPRI 2016), 312 households have selected in two groups, 156 households in the treatment group and 156 in the control group. From this new matched sub-sample, women position is compared on the four different dimensions namely participation in decision-making, freedom of mobility, participation in reproductive decision and prevalence of domestic violence; and comparative difference between the groups can be considered as the impact of ‘treatment’ i.e. international migration and remittance. Evidence suggests that husbands’ migration gives left-behind wives more authority in spending decision such as food, housing, health-care, child education and clothing; increases freedom of mobility; and reduces the prevalence of domestic violence against them in compare to the peer group. On the contrary, wives of the control group enjoy higher participation in both inside- and outside-home income generating activities.

Keywords: Women Position; Propensity Score Matching; International Migration; Bangladesh (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D15 F22 F24 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Handle: RePEc:jda:journl:vol.54:year:2020:issue2:pp127-144