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


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.


International migration Food and nutrition security Propensity score matching Bangladesh 


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 



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.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of FlorenceFirenzeItaly

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