Summary: Inequalities in access to education pose a significant barrier to development. It has been argued that this reflects, in part, borrowing constraints that inhibit private investment in human capital by the poor. One promise of the recent proposals to open international labor markets to allow for the temporary economic migration of low-skilled workers from developing to industrial countries is its potential impact on human capital accumulation by the poor. The large remittance flows from migrants to their communities of origin underscores this aspect of migration. However, migration can also transform expectations of future employment and induce changes in household structure that can exert an independent effect on the private returns to investment in human capital. The author explores the relationship between temporary economic migration and investment in child schooling. A key challenge is to deal appropriately with selection into migration. She finds that the potential positive effects of temporary economic migration on human capital accumulation are large. Moreover, the gains are much greater for girls, yielding a very substantial reduction in gender inequalities in access to education. Significantly, though, the gains appear to arise almost entirely from the greater resource flows to migrant households. The author cannot detect any effect of future migration prospects on schooling decisions. More significantly, she does not find any protective effect of migration-induced female headship on schooling outcomes for girls. Rather, female headship appears to protect boys at the cost of girls.
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