Migration and household demography in Nang Rong, Thailand Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Piotrowski, Martin
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • This work investigates various facets of migration and household demography in Thailand, a developing country that has been experiencing a shift from a rural subsistence economy to an urban industrial base. The setting is Nang Rong, a rural agrarian district located in Buriram province in the Northeast. At one time a frontier region, the district has been undergoing tremendous social, economic, and demographic transformations in the last three decades. The first analytical portion of the work deals with care for children of absent migrant parents. I develop a model of total childcare, whereby someone other than a biological parent assumes total parental responsibility in the parents' absence. I describe a process whereby a mutually-beneficial intergenerational household division of labor develops in which the older generation cares for the children of absent migrant parents, who provide for economic needs of their origin households. Next, using help with harvesting rice as an illustration of the profound changes that occur during the industrial transition, I examine intergenerational relations between young out-migrants and their parents. I find that migrants are more likely to help with the rice harvest if their origin household owns securely titled land, and if the migrant has lower human capital endowments. Results suggest that intergenerational relations between parents and children are becoming more instrumental, which is related to a household strategy predicated on individual self-interest and bargaining. The final analytical chapter deals with the effect of remittances on household division, a demographic process that is understudied in rural developing contexts. Results suggest that remittance money sent by other household members (especially women, who perhaps are siblings of those who eventually move) is used to finance a household split. This is potentially related to the effect that remittances have on alleviating credit constraints, which makes it possible for families and households to fund costs (such as home construction) associated with movement into an independent household. Remittance effects are particularly associated with a later stage in the Thai household life cycle whereby a young couple moves out of the household of the wife's family into an independent nuclear household.
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  • Rindfuss, Ronald R.
  • Open access

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