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Escaping Famine through Seasonal Migration

Gharad Bryan, Shyamal Chowdhury () and Ahmed Mushfig Mubarak
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Gharad Bryan: London School of Economics and Political Science
Ahmed Mushfig Mubarak: Yale University

Working Papers from Yale University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Hunger during pre-harvest lean seasons is widespread in the agrarian areas of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. We randomly assign an $8.50 incentive to households in rural Bangladesh to out- migrate during the lean season. The incentive induces 22% of households to send a seasonal migrant, their consumption at the origin increases significantly, and treated households are 8-10 percentage points more likely to remigrate 1 and 3 years after the incentive is removed. These facts can be explained qualitatively by a model in which migration is risky, mitigating risk requires individual-specific learning, and some migrants are sufficiently close to subsistence such that failed migration is very costly. We document evidence consistent with this model using heterogeneity analysis and additional experimental variation, but calibrations with forward-looking households that can save up to migrate suggest that it is difficult for the model to quantitatively match the data. We conclude with extensions to the model that could provide a better quantitative accounting of the behavior.

JEL-codes: J61 O10 O15 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-06
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Working Paper: Escaping Famine through Seasonal Migration (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Escaping Famine through Seasonal Migration (2013) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ecl:yaleco:124

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