Technical Report Doubling Up or Moving Out? The Effect of International Labor Migration on Household Size

Gatskova, Kseniia  ,  Kozlov, Vladimir

2018-01 , Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University
Previous literature suggests that households may react to wealth fluctuations by increasing or decreasing the number of members sharing the same residence. We use a unique three-wave household panel data from Tajikistan to explore the change in household size as a response to income shifts related to international labor migration. In addition, we analyze the interaction between effects of idiosyncratic income increase resulted from a successful migration episode and the one of an aggregate shock – the global financial crisis – and show how different households adjust their family size during times of financial hardship. The empirical evidence indicates that the successful migration episode two years before the interview was associated with a decrease in family size due to some of the family members’ moving out. At the same time, people were more likely to live in larger households during the crisis year than before and after the crisis. Empirical analysis yields that migrant families were not different from non-migrant families with respect to the doubling up as response to financial crisis, which suggests that labor migration in Tajikistan does not insure against economic shocks in the long run.

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