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Seasonal Migration and Micro-credit in the Lean Period: Evidence from Northwest Bangladesh

Discussion Papers

No.294

March 2011

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates the relationship between access to micro-credit and temporary seasonal migration, an issue which is largely ignored in the standard rural-urban migration literature. Seasonal migration due to agricultural downturns is a common phenomenon in developing countries. Using primary data from a cross-sectional household survey from the northwest part of Bangladesh, this study quantifies the factors that influence such migration decisions. Among other results, we find that network effects play a significant role in influencing the migration decision, with the presence of kinsmen at the place of destination having considerable impact. Seasonal migration is a natural choice for individual suffering periodic hardship; however the strict weekly loan repayment rules of Micro-credit Institutes can have an adverse effect on this process, reducing the ability of borrowers to react to a shock. Our result suggests that poor individuals prefer the option of not accessing the micro-credit and opt for temporal seasonal migration during the lean period. The results have numerous potential policy implications, including the design of typical micro-credit schemes.

Keywords: Lean period; Seasonal migration; Micro-credit; Bangladesh.
JEL classification: J62, J64, J65, O15, O18, R23.

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