Emigration and Development: The Case of a Bangladeshi Village



This article examines the developmental consequences of international labour migration in a Bangladeshi village. The data are from Hoglakandi, a village 30 kilometres south-east of Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh. A structured questionnaire with both open-ended and closed category questions was used among 50 Singapore returnees, supplemented with additional in-depth interviews. International labour migration has often been seen by many sending countries as a short cut to development because of its role in unemployment relief, balance of payments relief, and capital formation at national level. The study argues that the causes and effects of emigration can better be understood only when the process is placed within its local context, since what may prove to be advantageous at the national level may prove to be detrimental to a household or community or vice-versa. It demonstrates how the contribution of labour migration is merely the transformation of labour into a structural component of the international political economy. The Hoglakandi experience reveals that labour migration does not fuel the local economy from an external pipeline of remittances and skill acquisition, rather it drains local resources that retard the development.