International labor migration and economic development: Evidence from Bangladesh

Mahreen Khan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

While international labor migration offers significant opportunities to migrant workers in developing countries to increase their income, questions remain on the development and migration nexus. With moderate success shown for workers utilizing active migration policy instruments like bi-lateral agreements, the evidence base on their broader origin-community impact remains weak. Bangladesh, where about 700,000 migrants traveled annually on temporary work contracts since 2009, offers a unique opportunity to study the impact of large-scale migration on non-migrant households living in communities that are disproportionately impacted by out-migration. In this paper, I study the impact of outgoing international labor migrants between 2011 and 2015 on households in regions with differential exposure to migration. I exploit the variation in the regional exposure of out-migration to in the prior decade interacted with exogenous shifts in the national level of migrants as a consequence of visa policies that impacted the entry of migrants to these countries. I use this shift-share instrument to predict the number of outgoing migrants at the regional level. I focus on household level outcomes that measure socio-economic, labor market and entrepreneurial indicators using panel data from an integrated national survey to identify benefits in rural communities.

Keywords: Causal analysis / Causal estimation, International migration, Economic analysis, Policy

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session P23.