Working paper abstract

#2013-038

The influence of vulnerability on migration intentions in Afghanistan

Craig Loschmann & Melissa Siegel

This study explores the influence of vulnerability on migration intentions within the context of Afghanistan. While it is commonplace to conceptualize migration as being driven by certain economic-related factors, it is reasonable to assume that in an insecure setting like Afghanistan the difference between voluntary and involuntary movement is not easily distinguishable, making it necessary to approach the subject through a spectrum which does not presuppose migration is strictly economic in nature. With this in mind, we consider the issue through the broader lens of household vulnerability, a measure which incorporates a range of socio-economic factors allowing for a more comprehensive analysis. We first construct a profile of household vulnerability through individual indicators of deprivation along four principle dimensions, and then perform a regression analysis estimating the influence on migration intentions. Our results provide clear evidence that vulnerable households have a lower likelihood of concrete plans to migrate. This result supports the suggestion that it is not the "poorest of the poor", or in our case the "most vulnerable of the vulnerable" who aspire to move, indicating households have a realistic understanding of their capabilities taking into consideration the inherent costs and risks associated with cross-border movement.

Keywords: Migration Intentions, Migration Motivations, Vulnerability, Poverty, Afghanistan

JEL Codes: I32, O15