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Youth Migration and Labour Constraints in African Agrarian Households

Using panel data from Ethiopia and Malawi, we investigate how youth migration affects household labour, hired labour demand, and income, and whether these effects vary by migrant sex and destination. Labour shortages arise from the migration of a head’s child. However, the migration of the head’s sons produces a greater burden, particularly on female heads/spouses (in Ethiopia) and brothers (in Malawi).

Gains from migration in the form of increased total net income justify the increased labour efforts in Ethiopia. Weaker evidence suggests households in Malawi substitute hired for migrant family labour at the expense of total household net income.

The Journal of Development Studies