Remittances and social resilience of migrant households in rural Bangladesh

Mohammad Jalal Uddin Sikder, Vaughan Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Remittances from migration have significant impacts on economic livelihoods in developing countries. Yet, to date, scholars have paid little attention to the broader ways in which migrant remittances enable rural households to improve their capacity to respond and adapt to economic as well as environmental challenges. This paper draws upon ‘social resilience’ as a conceptual tool to investigate how monetary remittances are used by households to enhance their ability to respond to challenges, build economic, human and cultural capital, and plan for the future. Using data from a qualitative study of rural migrant households in Bangladesh, we provide an analysis of how different strategies for investing internal and international remittances contribute to household social resilience. Our analysis reveals that remittances in general contribute to improving the social resilience of migrant households. Remittances are important in building economic capital through accessing land for agricultural production as well as housing construction. Remittances also enable households to access education, and thus build their human capital. Nevertheless, the paper reveals an important gender dimension in the choice of investment strategies. Female-headed households tend to invest remittances in human capital, and such strategies may contribute to the reinforcement of existing gender inequalities and do little to improve resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-275
Number of pages22
JournalMigration and Development
Volume6
Issue number2
Early online date23 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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