Advertisement

Disentangling the Impact of International Migration on Food and Nutrition Security of Left-Behind Households: Evidence from Bangladesh

  • Donato Romano
  • Silvio TraversoEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

This paper explores the linkages between international migration and household food and nutrition security (FNS). First, building on existing literature, we discuss the main microeconomic channels through which international migration may affect household FNS. Second, taking Bangladesh as a case study, we estimate the overall impact of international migration on the FNS of left-behind households. Third, by disentangling the overall effect, we assess the importance of the various microeconomic channels that link international migration to household FNS. The empirical results suggest that international migration has a positive impact on the quantity, quality and variety of food consumed by left-behind households. Our findings also suggest that international migration might be considered among the possible drivers of the so-called Bangladesh paradox, i.e. the exceptional progress in health and nutrition achieved by the country during a period of relatively poor economic performance.

Keywords

International migration Food and nutrition security Propensity score matching Bangladesh 

Résumé

Cet article étudie les liens entre la migration internationale et la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle (SAN) des ménages. Premièrement, en s’appuyant sur la littérature existante, nous examinons les principaux canaux microéconomiques par lesquels les migrations internationales peuvent avoir une influence sur la SAN des ménages. Deuxièmement, en prenant le Bangladesh comme étude de cas, nous estimons l’impact global de la migration internationale sur la SAN des ménages les plus démunis. Troisièmement, en distinguant l’effet global, nous évaluons l’importance des différents canaux microéconomiques qui relient la migration internationale à la sécurité alimentaire des ménages. Les résultats empiriques suggèrent que la migration internationale a un impact positif sur la quantité, la qualité et la variété des aliments consommés par les ménages les plus démunis. Nos résultats suggèrent également que la migration internationale pourrait être considérée comme l’un des facteurs possibles du prétendu “paradoxe du Bangladesh”, à savoir les progrès exceptionnels réalisés par le pays en matière de santé et de nutrition pendant une période de performance économique relativement médiocre.

JEL Classification

F22 I1 I3 O15 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the two anonymous referees for their careful reading of our paper, constructive comments and helpful suggestions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest statement

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Abdulloev, I., I.N. Gang, and M.-S. Yun. 2014. Migration, education and the gender gap in labour force participation. The European Journal of Development Research 26 (4): 509–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, R.H.J. 2011. Evaluating the economic impact of international remittances on developing countries using household surveys: A literature review. Journal of Development Studies 47 (6): 809–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adams, R.H.J., and A. Cuecuecha. 2010. Remittances, household expenditure and investment in Guatemala. World Development 38 (11): 1626–1641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Adams, R.H.J., and A. Cuecuecha. 2013. The impact of remittances on investment and poverty in Ghana. World Development 50: 24–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alam, S. 2012. The effect of gender-based returns to borrowing on intra-household resource allocation in rural Bangladesh. World Development 40 (6): 1164–1180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arimond, M., and M.T. Ruel. 2004. Dietary diversity is associated with child nutritional status: Evidence from 11 demographic and health surveys. The Journal of Nutrition 134 (10): 2579–2585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Asadullah, M.N., A. Savoia, and W. Mahmud. 2014. Paths to development: Is there a Bangladesh surprise? World Development 62: 138–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Austin, P.C. 2011. Optimal caliper widths for propensity-score matching when estimating differences in means and differences in proportions in observational studies. Pharmaceutical Statistics 10 (2): 150–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Azzarri, C., and A. Zezza. 2011. International migration and nutritional outcomes in Tajikistan. Food Policy 36 (1): 54–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barham, B., and S. Boucher. 1998. Migration, remittances, and inequality: Estimating the net effects of migration on income distribution. Journal of Development Economics 55 (2): 307–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bertoli, S., and F. Marchetta. 2014. Migration, remittances and poverty in Ecuador. The Journal of Development Studies 50 (8): 1067–1089.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bertoli, S., and E. Murard. 2019. Migration and co-residence choices: Evidence from Mexico. Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  13. Böhme, M.H., R. Persian, and T. Stöhr. 2015. Alone but better off? Adult child migration and health of elderly parents in Moldova. Journal of Health Economics 39: 211–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bryan, G., S. Chowdhury, and A.M. Mobarak. 2014. Underinvestment in a profitable technology: The case of seasonal migration in Bangladesh. Econometrica 82 (5): 1671–1748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Buvinić, M., and G.R. Gupta. 1997. Female-headed households and female-maintained families: Are they worth targeting to reduce poverty in developing countries? Economic Development and Cultural Change 45 (2): 259–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Calero, C., A.S. Bedi, and R. Sparrow. 2009. Remittances, liquidity constraints and human capital investments in Ecuador. World Development 37 (6): 1143–1154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Carletto, C., A. Zezza, and R. Banerjee. 2013. Towards better measurement of household food security: Harmonizing indicators and the role of household surveys. Global Food Security 2 (1): 30–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Chowdhury, A.M.R., A. Bhuiya, M.E. Chowdhury, S. Rasheed, Z. Hussain, and L.C. Chen. 2013. The Bangladesh paradox: Exceptional health achievement despite economic poverty. The Lancet 382 (9906): 1734–1745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cox, D.R. 1992. Causality: Some statistical aspects. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 155 (2): 291–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Crush, J. 2013. Linking food security, migration and development. International Migration 51 (5): 61–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. De Haen, H., S. Klasen, and M. Qaim. 2011. What do we really know? Metrics for food insecurity and undernutrition. Food Policy 36 (6): 760–769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Giannelli, G.C., and L. Mangiavacchi. 2010. Children’s schooling and parental migration: Empirical evidence on the ‘left-behind’ generation in Albania. Labour 24: 76–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haddad, L., J. Hoddinott, and H. Alderman. 1997. Intrahousehold resource allocation in developing countries: Models, methods, and policies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Ham, J.C., X. Li, and P.B. Reagan. 2011. Matching and semi-parametric IV estimation, a distance-based measure of migration, and the wages of young men. Journal of Econometrics 161 (2): 208–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Headey, D., J. Hoddinott, D. Ali, R. Tesfaye, and M. Dereje. 2015. The other asian enigma: Explaining the rapid reduction of undernutrition in Bangladesh. World Development 66: 749–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Headey, D.D. 2013. Developmental drivers of nutritional change: A cross-country analysis. World Development 42: 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hoddinott, J., and Y. Yohannes. 2002. Dietary diversity as a food security indicator. IFPRI Discussion Paper No. 136.Google Scholar
  28. Imbens, G.W., and D.B. Rubin. 2015. Causal inference in statistics, social, and biomedical sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. IOM. 2018. World Migration Report 2018. Geneva: International Organization for Migration.Google Scholar
  30. Jimenez-Soto, E., and R. Brown. 2012. Assessing the poverty impacts of migrants’ remittances using propensity score matching: The case of Tonga. Economic Record 88 (282): 425–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kabeer, N., S. Mahmud, and S. Tasneem. 2018. The contested relationship between paid work and women’s empowerment: Empirical analysis from Bangladesh. The European Journal of Development Research 30 (2): 235–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Karamba, W.R., E.J. Quiñones, and P. Winters. 2011. Migration and food consumption patterns in Ghana. Food Policy 36 (1): 41–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lechner, M. 2002. Program heterogeneity and propensity score matching: An application to the evaluation of active labor market policies. Review of Economics and Statistics 84 (2): 205–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Levitt, P. 1998. Social remittances: Migration driven local-level forms of cultural diffusion. International Migration Review 32 (4): 926–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lokshin, M., M. Bontch-Osmolovski, and E. Glinskaya. 2010. Work-related migration and poverty reduction in Nepal. Review of Development Economics 14 (2): 323–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mangiavacchi, L., F. Perali, and L. Piccoli. 2018. Intrahousehold distribution in migrant-sending families. Journal of Demographic Economics 84 (1): 107–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Masset, E. 2011. A review of hunger indices and methods to monitor country commitment to fighting hunger. Food Policy 36: S102–S108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McGrath, D.S., and S.P. Barrett. 2009. The comorbidity of tobacco smoking and gambling: A review of the literature. Drug and Alcohol Review 28 (6): 676–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McKenzie, D., S. Stillman, and J. Gibson. 2010. How important is selection? Experimental vs. non-experimental measures of the income gains from migration. Journal of the European Economic Association 8 (4): 913–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mehlum, H., and G. Østenstad. 2016. The political economy of migration policies in oil-rich Gulf countries. Oxford Economic Papers 68 (4): 1062–1083.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mendola, M. 2008. Migration and technological change in rural households: Complements or substitutes? Journal of Development Economics 85 (1–2): 150–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Möllers, J., and W. Meyer. 2014. The effects of migration on poverty and inequality in rural Kosovo. IZA Journal of Labor & Development 3 (1): 16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nargis, N., M.E. Thompson, G.T. Fong, P. Driezen, A.G. Hussain, U.H. Ruthbah, A.C. Quah, and A.S. Abdullah. 2015. Prevalence and patterns of tobacco use in Bangladesh from 2009 to 2012: Evidence from international tobacco control (ITC) study. PLoS ONE 10 (11): e0141135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nguyen, C.V., and A. Tran. 2014. Do international remittances matter to tobacco spending? Evidence from Vietnam. The European Journal of Development Research 26 (5): 629–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nguyen, M.C., and P. Winters. 2011. The impact of migration on food consumption patterns: The case of Vietnam. Food Policy 36 (1): 71–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Quisumbing, A. 2003. Household decisions, gender, and development. Washington, DC: IFPRI.Google Scholar
  47. Quisumbing, A., and S. McNiven. 2010. Moving forward, looking back: The impact of migration and remittances on assets, consumption, and credit constraints in the rural Philippines. The Journal of Development Studies 46 (1): 91–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rosenbaum, P.R., and D.B. Rubin. 1983. The central role of the propensity score in observational studies for causal effects. Biometrika 70 (1): 41–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rubin, D.B. 2001. Using propensity scores to help design observational studies: Application to the tobacco litigation. Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology 2 (3–4): 169–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stark, O., and D.E. Bloom. 1985. The new economics of labor migration. The American Economic Review 75 (2): 173–178.Google Scholar
  51. Thorne-Lyman, A.L., N. Valpiani, K. Sun, R.D. Semba, C.L. Klotz, K. Kraemer, N. Akhter, S. de Pee, R. Moench-Pfanner, M. Sari, et al. 2009. Household dietary diversity and food expenditures are closely linked in rural Bangladesh, increasing the risk of malnutrition due to the financial crisis. The Journal of Nutrition 140 (1): 182S–188S.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wagle, U.R., and S. Devkota. 2018. The impact of foreign remittances on poverty in Nepal: A panel study of household survey data, 1996–2011. World Development 110: 38–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Warner, K., and T. Afifi. 2014. Where the rain falls: Evidence from 8 countries on how vulnerable households use migration to manage the risk of rainfall variability and food insecurity. Climate and Development 6 (1): 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Welter, F. 2011. Contextualizing entrepreneurship—Conceptual challenges and ways forward. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 35 (1): 165–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. World Bank. 2018. World development indicators. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  56. Yang, D. 2008. International migration, remittances and household investment: Evidence from Philippine migrants’ exchange rate shocks. The Economic Journal 118 (528): 591–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Zanutto, E.L. 2006. A comparison of propensity score and linear regression analysis of complex survey data. Journal of Data Science 4 (1): 67–91.Google Scholar
  58. Zezza, A., C. Carletto, B. Davis, and P. Winters. 2011. Assessing the impact of migration on food and nutrition security. Food Policy 36 (1): 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zhang, X., S. Rashid, K. Ahmad, and A. Ahmed. 2014. Escalation of real wages in Bangladesh: Is it the beginning of structural transformation? World Development 64: 273–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zhunusova, E., and R. Herrmann. 2018. Development impacts of international migration on ‘sending’ communities: The case of rural Kyrgyzstan. The European Journal of Development Research 30 (5): 871–891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of FlorenceFirenzeItaly

Personalised recommendations