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Does Maternal Migration Affect Spousal Labour Supply? Evidence from Sri Lanka

November 21, 2019

DECRG Kuala Lumpur Seminar Series

  • We examine what happens to Sri Lanka men’s labour supply when their wives emigrate to work and leave the husbands and their children at home in Sri Lanka―the effects of maternal migration on the husband’s labour supply. We use nationally representative cross-sectional data and historical migration rates at the community level as an instrument for maternal migration, in two-stage least-square estimations. We find maternal migration reduces the husband’s labour supply. The husbands are more likely to exit the labour market and become unemployed; the employed are less likely to moonlight and have lower wages; those that exit the labour market are more likely to become stay-at-home dads. Our findings indicate that policies that aim to promote female migration as an exogenous income source may fall short if they do not address substitution effects of the husband’s labour supply.

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  • Vengadeshvaran J. Sarma is an Assistant Professor of Business Economics at the University of Nottingham Malaysia. Venga's research interests are in the fields of development economics and migration studies—particularly, topics that focus on parental migration, children’s education and structural transformation in the developing world. His papers have been published in Oxford Development Studies, International Journal of Educational Development and Applied Economics Letters.


  • WHEN: Thursday, November 21, 2019; 12:30 -2:00PM
  • WHERE: World Bank Malaysia Office, Level 3, Sasana Kijang, No. 2, Jalan Dato’ Onn
  • RSVP: Kindly RSVP by Wednesday, November 20, 2019