The Role of Migration and Income Diversification in Protecting Households against Food Insecurity in Southwest Ethiopia

David P. Lindstrom, Brown University
Craig A. Hadley, Emory University
Tefera Belachew, Jimma University

We examine the influence of financial, migration and social capital on the risk of food insecurity in a sample of 3,695 households in Ethiopia. Results from logistic regression models suggest that inter-household transfers from adult children, siblings living in the capital city, and local exchange networks protect urban households against severe food insecurity, but not rural households. In contrast to long-term migration, temporary migration is associated with a higher risk of food insecurity among urban and rural households. The evidence suggests that households use temporary migration to reduce the demand for food during times of stress by temporarily shedding members. As urban labor markets develop and the production and distribution of food becomes increasingly integrated into national and international markets, households that diversify their sources of income and insurance across different locations will be more successful in protecting themselves against food insecurity than households that rely on local networks.

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Presented in Session 59: Economic Change and Migration: International Perspectives