Seasonal migration study in Bangladesh

An interesting experiment was recently undertaken regarding seasonal migration in Bangladesh.

In north-western Bangladesh region of  Rangpur, during the season after planting and before harvest (Sept-Nov) rice prices go up while there are few sources of income.  This causes a seasonal famine. But only 1/3rd of inhabitants migrate elsewhere in search of jobs.

So a group of researchers tried to see what happens if they offer incentives for migration.   The study covered 3 groups: one group was given info about migration, another was given info + credit for bus ticket/food, third group given info + money for bus ticket/food.

So what happened? The cash and credit had the same effect – six months after the incentives, these folks had migrated at the rate of 58%, compared to 36% for those without an incentive. The information? No effect.

And migration pays off. Although about 20% of migrants don’t find a job, the average migrant earns about $110 during the lean season and sends more than half of that back home. This translates into a boost for consumption of around 30-35%.   One interesting wrinkle: the incentivized migrants were making (and remitting) less than the non-incentivized migrants.   Despite this the folks getting the incentive were more likely to migrate the next year, even without the incentive – their migration rate was 47% against 37% for the non-incentivized.

So the researchers are suggesting using micro-credit for financing seasonal migration, rather than only for creating new entrepreneurs.

Read more detailed description here, and excerpts from the study here.

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This entry was posted in Financial lives of the poor, Microfinance, Research studies and surveys and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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