Accepted paper:

Dams, migration, and agricultural productivity: evidence from Ghana


Roshan Adhikari (University of Manchester)
Ralitza Dimova (University of Manchester)
Timothy Foster (University of Manchester)
Thomas Higginbottom (University of Manchester )

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the impacts of migration on agricultural productivity and welfare of Ghananian households.We explore the differences in economic and social factors between migrant and non-migrant households and the impact of these differences on agricultural productivity and household welfare.

Paper long abstract:

Migration due to development projects such as large dams impacts livelihoods, as affected households are faced with new (and often less favourable) socio-economic conditions. Much of empirical research on the agricultural impacts of dams is focused on the distribution of upstream and downstream impacts from irrigation, however, and limited to few years immediately following dam construction. In this paper, we take a longer term approach and analyse the impacts of migration on agricultural productivity and welfare of households in Ghana by exploring productivity differences between migrant and non-migrant households. We explore how economic (for e.g. agricultural land size, assets) and social (for e.g. agricultural extension services, land tenure) characteristics differ between migrant and non-migrant households and how these differences affect agricultural productivity and household welfare.

We use nationally representative household data from the Living Standards Measurement Survey to support our analysis. Our empirical approach employs a difference-in-difference method to evaluate whether migration improves agricultural livelihoods, the role of institutional and social characteristics in determining the long-term effects of migration, and the spatial heterogeneity in impacts across Ghana. Our initial results suggest that, on average, migrant households are relatively worse off than their non-migrant counterparts. Moreover, initially better off households are more likely to minimize losses from migration compared to poorer households that lose out. These findings have important implications for the design of effective interventions to raise smallholder agricultural productivity, suggesting that farm households have different adaptive capacities to mitigate shocks related to biophysical and socioeconomic changes.

panel I3
Dams, development & decision-making