Advertisement

Population and Environment

, Volume 30, Issue 4–5, pp 193–217 | Cite as

Rural out-migration and smallholder agriculture in the southern Ecuadorian Andes

  • Clark L. GrayEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

This study investigates the consequences of out-migration and migrant remittances for smallholder agriculture in a rural and environmentally marginal study area in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. Migration and remittances have the potential for transformative impacts on agriculture in origin areas of migration due to consequent declines in labor availability and increases in income, but previous studies have primarily found mixed and weak effects. This study provides additional insight by considering the gender and destination of migrants, key factors given gender norms influencing participation in agriculture, and the large gap in remittances sent by internal and international migrants. Building on recent methodological innovations, the study uses original household survey data and multivariate statistical models to examine the consequences of migration and remittances for multiple agricultural outcomes, including maize production, agrodiversity, female participation in agriculture, and the use of land, labor, and chemical inputs. Consistent with previous studies, the results indicate that migration and remittances have mixed and countervailing effects on smallholder agriculture. Specifically, out-migration has lost-labor effects that differ between men and women, and international remittances have investment-promotion effects that result in increased maize production. Together, the results highlight the resilience of smallholder agriculture in the face of dramatic demographic change.

Keywords

Migration Remittances Agriculture Land use Gender 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Funding for this research was provided by a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a Research Residency grant from the Carolina Population Center (CPC). The author was supported as a doctoral student by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and by an NSF grant to the CPC for graduate training in population-environment research. I thank Richard Bilsborrow and Thomas Whitmore for providing advice throughout the project and also members of my dissertation committee and the anonymous reviewers for their comments. For making the fieldwork possible I am indebted to the participating communities, the field staff, and the Center for Population and Social Development Studies in Quito.

References

  1. Abbott, J. (2005). Counting beans: Agrobiodiversity, indigeneity, and agrarian reform. The Professional Geographer, 57, 198–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, R. (2006). Remittances, poverty and investment in Guatemala. In Ç. Özden & M. Schiff (Eds.), International migration, remittances, and the brain drain (pp. 53–80). Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  3. Agarwal, R., & Horowitz, A. (2002). Are international remittances altruism or insurance? Evidence from Guyana using multiple-migrant households. World Development, 30(11), 2033–2044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Amuedo-Dorantes, C., & Pozo, S. (2006). Remittances as insurance: Evidence from Mexican immigrants. Journal of Population Economics, 19, 227–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benjamin, D. (1992). Household composition, labor markets, and labor demand: Testing for separation in agricultural household models. Econometrica, 60, 287–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Binford, L. (2003). Migrant remittances and (under)development in Mexico. Critique of Anthropology, 23(3), 305–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Black, R. (1993). Migration, return, and agricultural development in the Serra Do Alvao, Northern Portugal. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 41, 563–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brookfield, H. (2001). Exploring agrodiversity. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, P. (1987). Population growth and the disappearance of reciprocal labor in a highland Peruvian community. Research in Economic Anthropology, 8, 225–245.Google Scholar
  10. Brown, L., Brea, J., & Goetz, A. (1988). Policy aspects of development and individual mobility: Migration and circulation from Ecuador’s rural sierra. Economic Geography, 64, 147–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, L., & Sierra, R. (1994). Frontier migration as a multi-stage phenomenon reflecting the interplay of macroforces and local conditions: The Ecuador Amazon. Papers in Regional Science, 73, 267–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brownrigg, L. (1981). Economic and ecological strategies of Lojano migrants to El Oro. In N. Whitten (Ed.), Cultural transformation and ethnicity in modern Ecuador (pp. 303–326). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  13. Brush, S. (2004). Farmers’ bounty: Locating crop diversity in the contemporary world. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Bydekerke, L., Van Ranst, E., Vanmechelen, L., & Groenemans, R. (1998). Land suitability assessment for cherimoya in southern Ecuador using expert knowledge and GIS. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 69, 89–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Haas, H. (2006). Migration, remittances and regional development in Southern Morocco. Geoforum, 37, 565–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. De la Briere, B., Sadoulet, E., de Janvry, A., & Lambert, S. (2002). The roles of destination, gender, and household composition in explaining remittances: An analysis for the Dominican Sierra. Journal of Development Economics, 68, 309–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Deere, C. (2005). The feminization of agriculture? Economic restructuring in rural Latin America. Occasional Paper 1, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.Google Scholar
  18. Durand, J., Parrado, E., & Massey, D. (1996). Migradollars and development: A reconsideration of the Mexican case. International Migration Review, 30, 423–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ellis, F. (2000). Rural livelihoods and diversity in developing countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Entwisle, B., & Tong, Y. (2005). The impact of migration and remittances on households in rural Thailand. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Philadelphia, March 31–April 2.Google Scholar
  21. Foster, A., & Rosenzweig, M. (1995). Learning by doing and learning from others: Human capital and technical change in agriculture. The Journal of Political Economy, 103, 1176–1209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gilligan, D. (2004). The economics of agricultural labor exchange with evidence from Indonesia. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of Maryland, College Park, MA.Google Scholar
  23. Gratton, B. (2007). Ecuadorians in the United States and Spain: History, gender and niche formation. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33, 581–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gray, C. (2008). Out-migration and rural livelihoods in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. Doctoral dissertation for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://dc.lib.unc.edu/u?/etd,1671.
  25. Gray, C. (2009). Environment, land and rural out-migration in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. World Development, 37, 457–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gray, C., Bilsborrow, R., Bremner, J., & Holt, F. (2008). Indigenous land use in the Ecuadorian Amazon: A cross-cultural and multilevel analysis. Human Ecology, 36, 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Grosh, M., & Glewwe, P. (2000). Designing household survey questionnaires for developing countries: Lessons from 15 years of the living standards measurement study. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  28. Guillet, D. (1980). Reciprocal labor and peripheral capitalism in the Central Andes. Ethnology, 19, 151–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hull, J. (2007). Migration, remittances, and monetization of farm labor in subsistence sending areas. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 16, 451–484.Google Scholar
  30. IADB. (2006). Remittances 2005: Promoting financial democracy. Inter-American Development Bank.Google Scholar
  31. INEC. (2003). Sistema integrado de consultas a los censos nacionales. www.inec.gov.ec. National Census and Statistical Institute of Ecuador.
  32. Jokisch, B. (2002). Migration and agricultural change: The case of smallholder agriculture in highland Ecuador. Human Ecology, 30, 523–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jokisch, B., & Pribilsky, J. (2002). The panic to leave: Economic crisis and the ‘new emigration’ from Ecuador. International Migration Review, 40, 75–101.Google Scholar
  34. Katz, E. (2003). The changing role of women in the rural economies of Latin America. In B. Davis (Ed.), Current and emerging issues for economic analysis and policy research. Volume I: Latin America and the Caribbean (pp. 31–66). Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization.Google Scholar
  35. Long, J. (1997). Regression models for categorical and limited dependent variables. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  36. López, E., Boccoa, G., Mendoza, M., Velázquez, A., & Aguirre-Rivera, J. (2006). Peasant emigration and land-use change at the watershed level: A GIS-based approach in Central Mexico. Agricultural Systems, 90, 62–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lucas, R. (1987). Emigration to South Africa’s mines. The American Economic Review, 77, 313–330.Google Scholar
  38. Massey, D., & Zenteno, R. (2000). A validation of the ethnosurvey: The case of Mexico-U.S. migration. International Migration Review, 34(3), 766–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McCarthy, N., Carletto, G., Davis, B., & Maltsoglou, I. (2006). Assessing the impact of massive out-migration on agriculture. Working Paper No 06-14, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar
  40. Mendola, M. (2008). Migration and technological change in rural households: Complements or substitutes? Journal of Development Economics, 85, 150–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mora, J. (2005). The impact of migration and remittances on distribution and sources of income: The Mexican rural case. United Nations Expert Group Meeting on International Migration and Development, New York, July 6–8.Google Scholar
  42. Muller, D., & Sikor, T. (2006). Effects of postsocialist reforms on land cover and land use in South-Eastern Albania. Applied Geography, 26, 175–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Netting, R. (1993). Smallholders, householders: Farm families and the ecology of intensive, sustainable agriculture. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. OAS. (1992). Plan integral de desarrollo de los recursos hídricos de la provincia de Loja. www.oas.org/dsd/publications/Unit/oea02s/begin.htm. Organization of American States.
  45. Perz, S. (2007). Grand theory and context-specificity in the study of forest dynamics: Forest transition theory and other directions. The Professional Geographer, 59, 105–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pfeiffer, L., & Taylor, J. (2007). Gender and the impacts of international migration: Evidence from rural Mexico. In A. Morrison, M. Schiff, & M. Sjöblom (Eds.), The international migration of women (pp. 99–123). Washington, DC: World Bank Publications.Google Scholar
  47. Preston, D., Macklin, M., & Warburton, J. (1997). Fewer people, less erosion: The twentieth century in southern Bolivia. The Geographical Journal, 163, 198–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Preston, D., & Taveras, G. (1980). Changes in land tenure and land distribution as a result of rural emigration in Highland Ecuador. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 71, 98–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ramírez-Gallegos, F., & Ramírez, J. (2005). La estampida migratoria ecuatoriana: Crisis, redes transnacionales y repertorios de acción migratoria. Quito, Ecuador: Abya Yala.Google Scholar
  50. Reardon, T., Berdegué, J., & Escobar, G. (2001). Rural nonfarm employment and incomes in Latin America: Overview and policy implications. World Development, 29, 395–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Reichert, J. (1981). The migrant syndrome: Seasonal US wage labor and rural development in central Mexico. Human Organization, 40, 56–66.Google Scholar
  52. Rigg, J. (2006). Land, farming, livelihoods, and poverty: Rethinking the links in the Rural South. World Development, 34, 180–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rudel, T., Coomes, O., Moran, E., Achard, F., Angelsen, A., Xu, J., et al. (2005). Forest transitions: Towards a global understanding of land use change. Global Environmental Change Part A, 15, 23–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rudel, T., Perez-Lugo, M., & Zichal, H. (2000). When fields revert to forests: Development and spontaneous reforestation in post-war Puerto Rico. The Professional Geographer, 52, 386–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sana, M. (2008). Growth of migrant remittances from the United States to Mexico, 1990–2004. Social Forces, 86, 995–1025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sana, M., & Massey, D. (2005). Household composition, family migration, and community context: Migrant remittances in four countries. Social Science Quarterly, 86, 509–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Smith, D., & Brame, R. (2003). Tobit models in social science research: Some limitations and a more general alternative. Sociological Methods and Research, 31, 364–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stark, O., & Bloom, D. (1985). The new economics of labor migration. American Economic Review, 75, 173–178.Google Scholar
  59. Taylor, J., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Massey, D., & Pellegrino, A. (1996). International migration and community development. Population Index, 62, 397–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Taylor, J., & Dyer, G. (2006). Migration and the sending economy: A disaggregated rural economy wide analysis. Working Paper 06-002, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis.Google Scholar
  61. Taylor, M., Moran-Taylor, M., & Ruiz, D. (2006). Land, ethnic, and gender change: Transnational migration and its effects on Guatemalan lives and landscapes. Geoforum, 37, 41–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Taylor, J., Rozelle, S., & De Brauw, A. (2003). Migration and incomes in source communities: A new economics of migration perspective from China. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 52, 75–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Van Dusen, M., & Taylor, J. (2005). Missing markets and crop diversity: Evidence from Mexico. Environment and Development Economics, 10, 513–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Walker, R., Perz, S., Caldas, M., & Silva, L. (2002). Land use and land cover change in forest frontiers: The role of household life cycles. International Regional Science Review, 25, 169–199.Google Scholar
  65. Wong, R., Palloni, A., & Soldo, B. (2007). Wealth in middle and old age in Mexico: The role of international migration. International Migration Review, 41, 127–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wouterse, F., & Taylor, J. (2008). Migration and income diversification: Evidence from Burkina Faso. World Development, 36, 625–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zimmerer, K. (1993). Soil erosion and labor shortages in the Andes with special reference to Bolivia, 1953–1991: Implications for ‘conservation-with-development’. World Development, 21, 1659–1675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

Personalised recommendations