«A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy Approved November 2014 by the Graduate ...»
Ghana, and Burkina Faso. The results of those studies show that the following environmental factors increase the likelihood of local or internal migration, not international migration: the perception of the declining agricultural productivity and increasing time to collect fuel wood (Massey et al. 2010; Shrestha and Bhandari 2007), poor land quality and harvest fluctuation (Gray 2008), poor fertility of land and availability-abundance of land (Van der Geest 2009), and low level of average rainfall (Schoumaker and Beauchemin 2004). This does not imply that environmental factors are on top of other factors explaining migration, such as social capital, human capital, and so on. The results emphasize the fact that the environmental aspect of migration has been relatively neglected in previous studies.
Next, we look at the research on the other way around: the effects of migration on environment. This direction might have been more explored than the opposite direction (Hugo 2008; Suhrke 1994). However, as the review by Hugo (2008) implies, it heavily focuses on internal migration, and much less on international migration despite a potential impact of it. Thus, differentiating internal migration from international migration and testing each type of migration is worth to be explored. Besides, most studies look at the influence of mass inflow of migrants on the environment of destinations (Hugo 2008), not the outflow of migrants or the return of migrants on the environment of origins, especially at the household level. Furthermore, most of the studies are focusing on direct and visible results, such as deforestation or desertification.
In my opinion, this is mainly due to data limitations, such as a short survey period forced
of complexity of the interactions among them.
One of the main reasons that the research on population and environment has focused on the inflow of migrants, not the outflow, is that population growth and density has been pointed out as one ultimate factor affecting the environment of a given region in the short and long terms (Carr, Lopez, and Bilsborrow 2009). From an ecological perspective, Demeny (1990) argues that those findings of negative consequences of population growth on environment are, in many cases, against development. But the difficulty is that we need to achieve both development and the conservation of environment. He insists that for the findings of ecological changes to be relevant to public policy and to be productive in every sense, they need to be integrated in broader conceptual models including human behavioral responses. In addition, they should be considered in the context of time and be ranked by the relative importance of each response. Looking at the transitions in what people do at the household level, therefore, is important since it complements the link between migration and its environmental consequences.
The review on the interactions between migration, agricultural transition, and environment in the context of Kenya by Greiner and Sakdapolrak (2013) narrows down the issues surrounding the interactions between migration and environment into three main research questions: 1) the effects of loss of labor on agricultural productivity; 2) the expenditure of remittances; 3) agricultural intensification or transition out of farming.
The questions in my dissertation integrates those three questions and address them in the setting of Chitwan, Nepal: how migration as well as household capitals impacts
of production, and their main energy source in the context of the socioeconomically changing agricultural region of Chitwan, Nepal.
To understand these transitions, we need to first explore the link between population growth and its potential demographic and economic responses thoroughly.
This is so in that population growth is highly related to: 1) food production, which depends heavily upon agricultural productivity, which again relies upon environmental conditions; 2) out-migration through household livelihood diversification strategies.
Moreover, all of these interact with each other. Thus, understanding the link is the first step towards the consideration of the relationship between migration, household capitals, and agricultural and energy transitions.
Theoretical Consideration More than a century ago, Thomas Malthus studied the relationship between population growth and agricultural production (Davis 1955). In general, he accepts agricultural production as the cause and population growth as the effect. He argues that population size cannot grow more than the size which the maximum agricultural productivity of land can support. This argument is supported by two facts. First, population cannot continue to increase without enough food to support the size. Second, available land and the agricultural productivity of land are always limited. Boserup (1965), however, opposed this argument.
She insists that the direction can be the opposite:
agricultural production relies upon population growth under certain conditions. As the size of population increases, subsequently population density as well, people try to find
agriculture. Then, the population can continue to increase without food problems as Malthus anticipated. During this intensification period, people should work extra hours to meet the same amount of agricultural production: the output per man-hour decreases with intensification. However, in the long run, the output per man-hour in other activities would rise while the one in agriculture decreases, which would be in increasing pace eventually. Boserup (1965) expects that rural areas, where agriculture is the main source of income, would experience a large-scale labor drain to urban areas to find less arduous occupations in non-farming sectors during this process. In this situation, food prices would go up in urban areas as a result of increased population density unless the government holds the food price for the development of urban areas as in the case of South Korea in the 1960s (Scitovsky 1985). However, this could be the incentive for rural people to intensify their farming systems, and subsequently, it would result in higher wages in rural areas. Therefore, it is anticipated that agricultural intensification and expansion would continue and thrive, and so does internal migration.
This agricultural innovation might not be induced only by population growth though. The expanding market in a global economy, the tremendous flow of information across the globe, government policies, and international aid could play a significant role for countries to accept agricultural intensification as well (Carr et al. 2009). Especially the latter two could be integrated into the so-called Green Revolution initiated in the 1960s, though whether the Green Revolution over decades has been a success or not is in question, and its long-term impacts on the environment have been turned out to be negative (Hazell 2009; Niazi 2004; Pimentel and Pimentel 1990).
economic response and ignoring demographic responses (de Haan 1999). Bilsborrow (1987) argues that Kingsley Davis’s theory of the multiphasic response complements Boserup’s view with a demographic perspective. Kinsley Davis’ theory could be seen as the integration of the works by Maltus and Boserup (Carr et al. 2009). Davis (1963) questions what brought the steep decline in fertility in Japan. Some previous studies on this topic argued that it was due to an exceptionally high abortion rate. Davis opposed this idea. It was true that abortion was popular in Japan around that time, but it could not be the main factor because abortion had been prevalent in most developed countries through history. Instead, he pointed out five main responses: contraception, sterilization, emigration, postponement of marriage, and celibacy. Davis insisted that those five responses are the main demographic responses of people in most countries experiencing sustained population growth caused by the decline in mortality. If we compare the pattern country to country, we can find more similarity in demographic responses than dissimilarity. Thus, he argues that the exceptional rapid decline in fertility of Japan was not caused by some specific values or cultures existing only in Japan. It was one of the demographic responses in the face of the rapid population growth with the fear of the decline in accustomed standard of living at that time. In sum, Davis’ theory of multiphasic response emphasizes the demographic responses, not economic responses, to population growth.
Integrating these two perspectives, Bilsborrow (1987) suggested three types of responses: demographic, economic, and demographic-economic. Demographic responses are the responses Davis (1963) pointed out: the changes in nuptiality and marital fertility.
extensification and intensification. Demographic-economic response is permanent or seasonal out-migration at the internal and international level. And each of these responses takes place under certain conditions though they are not completely exclusive.
In summary, each perspective of Boserup, Davis, and Bilsborrow considers the population growth as the trigger of the responses. But it should be noted that all the responses are ongoing responses interacting with each other. As Hugo (2008) points out, indeed, the relationships between environment, migration, and development are multidirectional. For instance, Lohrmann (1996) asserts that the significant influx of migrants into one region, which is caused by various social and demographic factors, would impact the environment of the same region. Subsequently, the changed, usually degraded, environment would influence migration patterns of the region as well as ongoing socioeconomic changes. Thus, it makes a cycle, and the flow of this cycle continues. Migration patterns, environmental changes, and rapidly changing socioeconomic conditions of Chitwan clearly demonstrate this cycle; therefore it is an ideal study site to examine the relationships among population, environment and development. As examined in the setting, Chitwan has received many migrants from various ecological regions of Nepal over history, mainly due to the availability of fertile land and friendly weather conditions in the Terai area, and it has been causing outmigration at internal and international levels. This out-migration would bring social and financial remittances and subsequently affect how people live. Since environment and what people do are dependent on each other, which household-level transition is initiated or induced due to migration and household capitals is an important question to search for
It is also important to recognize that the decision of migration is often made at the household level (Connell and Conway 2000). It is also true in the context of Chitwan, Nepal (Regmi 2014). This means that to understand the relationships, each should be understood in the frame of the livelihoods of individuals and households who continuously try to adjust themselves not only to the changing environment, but also to socioeconomic, political and other on-going transformations (Foresight 2011). This perspective would be well explained by the perspective of new economics and the livelihood approach. Both views fit in the explanation with the focus on the ability of a household minimizing risks and maximizing what they have for the future.
The perspective of new economics emphasizes the tendency of households to diversify income sources. According to this view, migration decision could be considered as the coping strategy at the household level to reduce any risks related to livelihood. To overcome two major limitations of the previously dominant perspective (neoclassical economics which ignores the context of individual choices and assumes a perfect rationality of an individual), new economics consider the context, which is a family or a household (Jennissen 2007; Massey et al. 1993). In this view, the decision of migration depends not only on an individual, but also on other family members surrounding an individual. Also, the decision of migration is understood as to diversify income sources.
In less developed countries, such as Nepal, income sources are significantly less stable compared to the ones in other developed countries. Insurance systems, such as crop insurance and unemployment insurance, are not reliable or common in less developed
economic conditions. As a result, rural households in developing countries are more likely to send migrants out, internally and internationally, to the developed areas to diversify and secure income sources. Thus, considering the low level of socioeconomic status of Chitwan, the setting of this dissertation, this view would explain why Chitwan has been experiencing a high volume of labor migration in recent few decades.
The livelihood approach expands the scope of new economics by weaving the diversification of income source into household livelihood diversification. This is important in that it brings in other sides of livelihood, such as natural capital, not only the economic side. This perspective considers various types of resources a household would utilize for their current and future livelihood. Most importantly, the livelihood approach emphasizes various aspects of “wealth.” This perspective argues that terms, such as “poor” and “low socioeconomic status” do not fully describe the overall wealth of a household (de Sherbinin, VanWey, McSweeney, Aggarwal, Barbieri, Henry, Hunter, Twine, and Walker 2008). For example, a household could be poor in financial capital, but rich in social capital (de Sherbinin et al. 2008; Reardon and Vosti 1995). And there are things that cannot be obtained by financial capital, but by social capital, such as information.
Therefore, diverse aspects of household resources should be considered independently and together. According to the theoretical framework by Ellis (2000), the wealth of a household comprises five forms of capital: natural, social, human, physical, and financial capitals. The combinations of these five types of capitals build up the overall wealth of a household. Natural capital consists of land, water, and biological resources that people utilize to sustain and survive. In the context of a farming society, for example, quality or