Is Heading Home a Dead End? COVID-Induced Migration and Local Labor Market Opportunities in Rural India

Is Heading Home a Dead End? COVID-Induced Migration and Local Labor Market Opportunities in Rural India

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Rohini PandeCharity Troyer MooreSimone Schaner, Yusuf Neggers, Maulik JagnaniJenna Allard


COVID-19-induced migration presents multiple challenges, both direct and indirect, to labor markets. For urban migrants who lose their jobs, alternatives are scarce: since many cannot survive without daily wages, they must journey back to their home villages, where employment options are already in short supply. Once home, migrants face social stigma and limited labor market opportunities. Since internal migration is often geographically concentrated, mass returns also impose large local labor market shocks on sending villages. This project seeks to understand the economic consequences of COVID-induced migrant returns and to help governments mitigate negative effects while supporting both rural and urban labor markets. We will conduct high-frequency surveys of return migrants in several states in northern India with a high proportion of out-migrants, and use surveys of local elected leaders and administrative data on participation in India’s massive public works program to understand and contribute to government efforts to create local labor market opportunities.

Project Outcomes of Interest

Post-lockdown migration; take-up of local labor market opportunities and social assistance programs; food security; experiences of social stigma or discrimination


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), EPoD India at LEAD at Krea University, Yale Economic Growth Center (EGC)

Impact Goals

  • Build resilient and adaptable businesses and employment opportunities
  • Improve social-safety net responses

Project Data Collection Mode

  • CATI (Computer-assisted telephone interviewing)

Link to Data Collection Instruments

Implementing Organization

EPoD India at LEAD at Krea University

Results Status

No Results Yet