"Economic growth without investment in human development in unsustainable and unethical" ~Amatrya Sen

Published Papers

K. Sen Chakraborty, A. Chakraborty & R P. Berrens (2023). Valuing soil erosion control investments in Nigerian agricultural Lands: A Hedonic Pricing Model, World Development

The effects of climate change are often writ large in the nexus of water and land. In Nigeria, predominantly rainfed agriculture is confronting the consequences of climate extremes in the form of excessive rainfall, especially in the southern region. Relatedly, the hazard of soil erosion represents one of the most pressing forms of land degradation, thereby threatening agricultural production and farmers’ livelihoods. The objective of this analysis is to estimate the economic value of investing in a climate change adaptation strategy, specifically soil erosion control measures on agricultural lands in Nigeria. The analysis employs a hedonic pricing model, using household-level self-reported land values from the Nigeria Living Standards Measurement Survey, 2015–2016 and 2018–2019. Results indicate that undertaking soil erosion control facilities is heavily capitalized into Nigerian agricultural land values. The estimated marginal implicit price (MIP) for undertaking soil erosion control is approximately 26% of mean land values. This value represents around half the annual nominal median income of a Nigerian agrarian household. The estimated MIP of soil erosion control adoption is positive in areas that experience moderate rainfall. Results are maintained across a variety of robustness checks. Our findings suggest that soil erosion control adoption can be an important source of wealth creation among smallholder farmers who are mainly engaged in subsistence farming. Results support wider adoption of erosion control by landowners in accordance with highly variable weather patterns, and more broadly suggest the need to recognize the long-term gains from climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices and target investment aid towards sustainable agriculture.

Chakraborty, A., Doremus, J., & Stith, S. (2021). The effects of recreational cannabis access on labor markets: evidence from Colorado. IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 10(1)  

Recreational cannabis markets likely increase labor demand through investments in growing, processing and retail cannabis facilities, as well as other industries such as manufacturing and leisure and hospitality. However, this increase in labor demand may vary substantially across counties within a state as most states with legal recreational cannabis allow individual counties to ban commercial cannabis sales. Meanwhile, labor supply may change through positive and negative effects from cannabis use. Using county-level Colorado data from 2011-2018 and exploiting variation across counties in the existence and timing of the start of dispensary sales, we test for changes in the unemployment rate, employment and wages overall, and by industry subsector. Consistent with an increase in labor demand, we estimate that the sale of recreational cannabis through dispensaries is associated with a 0.7 percentage point decrease in the unemployment rate with no effect on the size of the labor force. We also find a 4.5 percent increase in the number of employees, with effects strongest in manufacturing. We find no effect on wages. Given the lack of a reduction in labor force participation or wages, negative effects on labor supply are likely limited, in line with the existing literature. The decrease in unemployment, coupled with an increase in the number of employees, indicates that labor demand effects likely dominate effects on labor supply. Our results suggest that policymakers considering recreational access to cannabis should anticipate a possible increase in employment. 

Chakraborty, A., & Mandal, B. (2016). Return Migration: A Review of the Recent Experiences. Journal of Economic Policy and Research, 12(1), 90-99. 

In this research short note our endeavor was to look at the phenomenon of return migration, which is relatively less researched, in light of recent experiences. In the literature it has been found that occupational choice of return migrants depends upon various factors such as schooling, foreign language proficiency, social contacts and savings accumulated abroad. It is observed that return migrants are less likely to actively participate in the labor market; they are more likely to choose self-employment rather than dependent employment upon return, mainly take up non-agricultural occupations. The return migrants are more likely to experience spells of unemployment in the first year upon return. This one year is spent with the accumulated savings which give them the edge to find proper jobs for them. The savings accumulated abroad is an incumbent need for the return migrants. Sometimes they also help building a new class of entrepreneurs. The prime reason for such occupational shift is the availability of seed money needed for business which is clearly scarce in most of the emigrating countries. At the end of this note we also tried to glance through the Indian experiences where return migration is predominantly domestic in nature. It is also observed that a part of rural-urban migration also comes under the purview of return migration. In this literature review we have tried to furnish a lot of examples of return migrants in respect of different countries. The return migration is primarily based on the different aspects such as occupational hazards, homesickness, completion of job contracts and mental upgradation. This trend is found among the migrants hailing from different countries in different ways and motives. 

Working Papers

Return migration is a crucial component of the migration and development cycle. This study seeks to estimate the impact of return migration on children's school-work decisions and their employment choices in Mexico. We employ a control function approach that exploits changes in U.S. immigration enforcement policies as a source of plausible exogenous variation. We find that the presence of a return migrant in the household increases children's likelihood of school attendance and decreases the probability of work compared to non-migrant and migrant households. However, these positive effects are not reaped by the poorest 25% of the households. We observe heterogeneity in the effects on employment types based on the comparison group and household wealth. We argue that these improvements might be driven by migrants' experiences, accumulation of human and financial capital in the United States, as well as better labor market opportunities when they return. This study suggests that return migration may act as a mechanism through which migrant flows may benefit developing countries of origin worldwide. Policies aimed at assisting the reintegration of return migrants in local markets may substantially improve the quality of education and can act as a channel to reduce child labor. 

Return migration and children's education: the USA-Mexico case (with Jose R. Bucheli and Matias Fontenla) 

The US-Mexico corridor represents one of the most massive migrant movements in human history. Since 2007 the trend has reversed with more Mexican migrants returning to their homes than those moving to the U.S. The experiences gained abroad benefit not just the return migrants but may also cause spillover effects that enhance the living conditions of their households. In this study, I attempt to establish the causal effect of return migrant in the household on the educational outcomes, schooling for age and school attendance, of children aged 6-19 in the Mexican households using data from the Mexican Census 2010. To identify the causal effect of return migration on children's education, I use the control function approach. I use an index of US interior immigration enforcement interacted with municipality migrant shares to the US states as an instrumental variable for the presence of a return migrant in the household. I find an increase in school attendance and an increase in schooling for age of children in households with return migrants. These benign effects are particularly significant for girls and children of poor communities. I speculate these improvements to be driven by the migrants' experience and accumulation of savings in the U.S. My paper suggests return migration from a developed to a developing country as a mechanism through which migrant flows may benefit origin developing countries worldwide. 

The labor outcomes of return migrants from Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Ghana (with Kira Villa)

In this study, I examine the relationship between return migration from the UK and Netherlands and the labor market outcomes of returnees in Ghana. Specifically, I compare the probability of employment and the occupational choices of return migrants with the non-migrants in Ghana. Moreover, I also assess the role of human capital in determining labor market outcomes. I use rich longitudinal information on the migration experiences to Europe in the Migrations between Africa and Europe (MAFE) project data for Ghana 2009-2010. Using multinomial logit models, my results suggest that returnees are more likely to be self-employed or be highly skilled employees relative to non-migrants. This finding holds for returnees with higher levels of education than for those with lower education. Researchers have demonstrated interest in the return of skilled migrants as a mechanism to reverse the brain drain in the developing world. Attracting skilled migrants back to their home country entails access to higher paid employment opportunities when they return. Thus, the results from my research suggest policies enhancing reintegration into the labor markets as strategies to utilize the migration experiences and capital accumulated abroad. 

From Books to Borders: How Education Shapes Mexico-U.S. Migration (with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes)

This study explores the impact of educational attainment on migration from Mexico to the United States, utilizing data from the 2000 Mexican and U.S. Censuses. We assess the causal link between lower secondary school completion and migration patterns by employing a fuzzy regression discontinuity design based on Mexico’s 1993 compulsory education reform.  The results indicate that completing lower secondary school increases the likelihood of migration, especially among males. Understanding the relationship between education and migration is crucial for policy-making impacting sending and receiving economies. Migration dynamics, as well as remittances and migrant integration, are intricately tied to migrants' educational attainment, underscoring the significance of this research for well-informed policy decisions.