Male Migration, Old-Age Support, and Marriage Outcomes of Women in Rural Bangladesh

Ali E. Protik, Brown University

This paper examines the effect of brother’s migration on the marriage patterns of sisters in a rural area of Bangladesh. It has been proposed that when sons are migrants, especially when accompanied by their spouses, parents become more willing to marry their daughters nearby to secure care for old-age. Such willingness arises because of a missing market for care. Using a rich dataset from a Demographic Surveillance System in Bangladesh, which contains 20 years of marriage and migration records, we find 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 education. While village endogamy is a rational response for providing increased care support to parents, marrying someone with lower human capital ensures that a woman with migrant brothers marries a man who is less likely to migrate himself.

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Presented in Session 15: Adult Children's Migration and the Wellbeing of Older Parents in International Perspective