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Escaping Famine through Seasonal Migration

Gharad Bryan (), Shyamal Chowdhury () and Ahmed Mobarak ()
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Gharad Bryan: London School of Economics

Working Papers from Economic Growth Center, Yale University

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 re-migrate 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.

Keywords: Seasonal Migration; Bangladesh; Risk (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O1 O15 J61 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 107 pages
Date: 2013-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev and nep-mig
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:egc:wpaper:1032

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