Seasonal Migration and Early Childhood Development
This paper explores the overall effect of seasonal migration on early childhood development in the case of Nicaragua. The research is based on a detailed household survey with data for more than 4000 households in six municipalities in a poor rural border region (close to Honduras), where seasonal migration to other Central American countries is widespread and more than half of all sampled households with pre-school children rely on seasonal migration to complement and diversify their income. The results of the research demonstrate that mothers' seasonal migration has a significant positive effect on childhood development, suggesting that the positive effect from increased income might be larger than the potential negative effect of lack of parenting. However, no significant effect of fathers' migration on early childhood development has been found. Furthermore, the descriptive statistics suggest that migrant women bring home a higher share of migration incomes. This leads to the conclusion that since women contribute more to household income, intra-household bargaining might shift in favour of women, which in turn could mean greater investment in children's human capital.