Credit Access, Migration, and Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Bangladesh
Joyce Chen and
No 296671, 2020 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 3-5, 2020, San Diego, California from Agricultural and Applied Economics Association
We explore the impact of flooding on migration in Bangladesh and examine whether migration responses are mitigated by access to credit. Using unique data from a household survey conducted in rural Bangladesh shortly after the 1998 flood, we estimate the effect of flooding on both permanent and temporary migration. We utilize a difference-in-differences approach that relies on randomized early access to microfinance. Flood exposure is based on village-level reports of flood intensity, which can be treated as exogenous to individual households. We find that flooding led to increased temporary migration, with no effect on permanent migration. Moreover, access to credit several years earlier fully mitigates the migration effect, suggesting that credit access allows farmers to cope with severe climate events without having to migrate. Our study thus provides an important contribution to the broader literature on climate change adaptation, by demonstrating that relieving credit constraints could enhance local livelihood strategies during environmental hazards, without deterring gradual permanent migration away from vulnerable areas.
Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development; Environmental Economics and Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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