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The Hidden Cost of Migration: Effect of Brother’s Migration on Sister’s Marriage Outcomes in Rural Bangladesh

  • 2006-2007
  • Project
Protik, Ali, Brown University

Study: “The Hidden Cost of Migration: Effect of Brother’s Migration on Sister’s Marriage Outcomes in Rural Bangladesh”
PI(s): Protik, Ali
Affiliation(s): Brown University
Institutional Partner(s): PRB Dissertation Fellowship
Project Dates:
Start: 2006
End: 2007
Data Source(s): Matlab Demographic Surveillance System
Methods: Matching; Fixed-Effects Logistic Regression
Geographic Location(s): Bangladesh

When sons move away from their village, the general hypothesis is that parents become more willing to marry their daughters to someone who lives nearby in order to secure care support in old-age when necessary, a result of a missing market for care. This paper examines the effect of brother’s migration on the marriage patterns of sisters in a rural area in Bangladesh. Using marriage and migration records from Matlab from 1975 to 1996, supplemented by a 1974 baseline census, the study compares women who face similar marriage prospects but differ by their brother’s migration status. The study shows strong evidence that women with migrant brothers are more likely to marry someone from the same village and are also more likely to marry someone with lower human capital. While marrying someone from the same village is a rational response for providing increased care support to parents, marrying someone with lower human capital ensures that a woman with a migrant brother marries a man who is less likely to migrate himself. The findings suggest that migration can have important distributional consequences in a society with a growing share of the elderly population and a missing formal market for care.

Research Outputs:
Protik, A., & Kuhn, R. (2006). The hidden cost of migration: Effect of brother’s migration on sister’s marriage outcomes in rural Bangladesh. Doctoral dissertation, Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI.

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