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Caste, Land, and Migration: A Preliminary Analysis of a Village Survey in an Underdeveloped State in India

Discussion Papers


by TSUJITA Yuko and ODA Hisaya
March 2012


This paper explores migration from Bihar, one of the most underdeveloped states in India, by paying particular attention to social class (caste) and landholdings. After describing details of individual migrants, we present our preliminary findings on the determinants of migration, based on our field survey of 200 households in four villages in 2011. In terms of social class, Muslims are more likely to migrate, but Scheduled Castes do not show a high propensity to migrate as is stated in some of the existing literature where the underclass is said to be more mobile. In terms of landholdings, the probability that someone will migrate is high among the landless and smaller landholders but it decreases as the size of the landholding increases. However, as the size of the landholding increases still further, a reverse effect of landholding on decisions regarding migration moves in, with the decline in probability becoming less and less. This result confirms a non-linear relationship between landholdings and the decision to migrate. Some further research questions are raised in the paper.

Keywords: migration, caste, land, India, Bihar
JEL classification: O15, R23, Q15

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