Farming Systems and Rural Out-Migration in Nang Rong, Thailand, and Chitwan Valley, Nepal


  • Data analysis reported in this article was partially supported by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) Early-Career Summer Fellowship. We acknowledge our debt to the large number of people who participated in the collection of the Nang Rong Project and Chitwan Valley Family Study. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Direct all correspondence to Martin Piotrowski, of Sociology, University of Oklahoma, 780 Van Vleet Oval, Kaufman Hall 331, Norman, OK 73019, (405) 325-1751; e-mail:


Using data from two postfrontier rural settings, Nang Rong, Thailand (N = 2,538), and Chitwan Valley, Nepal (N = 876), this article examines agricultural push factors determining the out-migration of young people age 15 to 19. We focus on different dimensions of migration, including distance and duration. Our study examines a wide array of agricultural determinants, each with its own potential effect on migration. These determinants include land tenure, crop portfolios, animal husbandry activities, and use of farm inputs. We link these proximal causes to two underlying mechanisms: risk and amenities. We examine these determinants using separate models across settings. Our results indicate that agricultural factors are significant determinants of migration in both contexts. However, different factors operate in different settings, indicating the importance of contextual variation in explaining the manner in which risks and amenities influence agricultural determinants of migration.