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.

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

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