Remittances and labour supply in post-conflict Tajikistan

Remittances and labour supply in post-conflict Tajikistan

The 1992–1998 Tajik armed conflict claimed at least 100,000 lives. About 18 per cent of the country’s population was displaced in the first few years of the war. The majority of displaced and refugees returned to their homes by 1995. While fighting during the conflict triggered temporary displacement, the destruction of industries and agricultural assets motivated a large labour migration of Tajiks to other parts of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) as borders between the Former Soviet Union Republics were still relatively open.

Remittances from temporary and permanent migrants have significantly contributed to reducing poverty rates in Tajikistan in the post-war period between 1999 and 2003. In 2003, remittances and other transfers to households ranked as a second largest income source after wages, and constituted about 10 per cent of average household income.

This paper analyses the impact of remittances on the labour supply of men and women in post-conflict Tajikistan. We find that on average men and women from remittance-receiving households are less likely to participate in the labour market and supply fewer hours when they do. The negative effect of remittances on labour supply is smaller for women, which is an intriguing result as other studies on remittances and labour supply (primarily focused on Latin America) have shown that female labour supply is more responsive to remittances.

The results are robust to using different measures of remittances and inclusion of variables measuring migration of household members. The authors estimate a joint effect of remittances and an individual’s residence in a conflict-affected area during the Tajik civil war. Remittances had a larger impact on the labour supply of men living in conflict-affected areas compared to men in less conflict-affected areas. The impact of remittances on the labour supply of women does not differ by their residence in both the more or less conflict affected area.

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.