Husbands' Labor Migration and Wives' Autonomy
Scott T. Yabiku, Arizona State University
Victor Agadjanian, Arizona State University
Labor migration leads to significant changes in origin areas. The separation of migrants from the family unit, whether it is nuclear or extended, has profound implications for family organization and for individual family members. We examine the relationship between men's labor migration and the decision-making autonomy of women who stay behind. Although previous studies have examined the association between men's labor migration and non-migrating women's autonomy, we go beyond prior research by testing multiple mechanisms by which men's migration may lead to higher decision-making autonomy of their wives: female employment outside the home, lower fertility, and residential independence from extended family members. The data for our analyses come from a 2006 survey of 1680 married women from 56 rural villages in southern Mozambique. We find that both men's cumulative migration history and current migration status are positively associated with women's autonomy and reflect on the mechanisms behind this relationship.