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Social barriers to female migration: Theory and evidence from Bangladesh

Amirapu, Amrit, Asadullah, M. Niaz, Wahhaj, Zaki (2022) Social barriers to female migration: Theory and evidence from Bangladesh. Journal of Development Economics, 158 . ISSN 0304-3878. (doi:10.1016/j.jdeveco.2022.102891) (KAR id:94947)


Traditional gender norms can restrict independent migration by women, thus preventing them from taking advantage of economic opportunities in urban areas. To explore this phenomenon, we develop a model in which women make marriage and migration decisions jointly. The model shows that, in response to a decline in the economic cost of migration, women may use marital migration to circumvent social barriers to female independent migration. To test this and related hypotheses, we use the construction of a major bridge in Bangladesh – which dramatically reduced travel times between the economically deprived north-western region and the capital city Dhaka – as a source of variation in migration costs. Consistent with the predictions of the model, we find that, among rural women from wealthier families, the bridge increased marital migration, schooling, dowry payments, and work in the manufacturing sector, but had no effect on economic migration.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2022.102891
Uncontrolled keywords: migration, marriage markets, female labour force participation, gender norms
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Zaki Wahhaj
Date Deposited: 09 May 2022 15:17 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 12:38 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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