PMMA-20209 Migration, Remittances and Child Schooling in Rural Cambodia


This study investigates the role of remittances and absence of migrant household members on human capital formation in rural Cambodia. It asks whether migration reduces or increases educational attainment among school-age children (5-19), especially among boys and girls. Unlike previous studies that used cross-sectional data, this study uses two waves of panel household data (2014 & 2017) in 11 rural villages in Cambodia. This study uses instrumental variable method to identify the impact since remittances and absence of migrants are generally treated as endogenous variables in the literature of migration. Following the method applied in Hu (2012), we use average remittances at the village level and ratio of migrant household to household population as instruments for remittances and migration (absence) of member of household, respectively. To ascertain the validity of our instruments, we test the relevance of each instrument by running first stage for each treatment variable. And, to disentangle the effect of the two treatments, we run system of recursive three equations as suggested by Hu (2012) who used conditional mixed process model (CMP) developed by Roodman (2009). CMP consists of user-friendly Stata’s written command, which allows flexibility in the functional assumption of error terms across equations. This study fills gap in the current local literature and contributes to the government policy development. For one thing, results from recent studies in Cambodia did not provide causal relation between migration and human capital. For instance, Hing et al. (2014) examined the connection between migration and child schooling in Cambodia by using binary treatment of migrant household and addressing endogeneity problem, and they were not able to show causal connection as their instrumental variable estimates were not statistically significant at any conventional level. Interestingly, OECD (2017) included both remittances and absenteeism in their estimation equation to show positive effect of remittances and negative effect of absence of migrant household members in 8 provinces in Cambodia; nonetheless, they did not address endogeneity problem. This study is intended to fill this gap by attempting to provide causal connection using new econometric method applied in studies, such as Hu (2012), Rozelle, Taylor & Debrauw (1999), and Bansak and Chezum (2009) . More importantly, this study coincides with the currently rapid increase in number of migrants sent to other areas inside and outside the country, such as Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia and Japan (Hing et al 2014 p.2). It is intended to provide evidence and raise awareness among policymakers regarding the negative impact of absence of migrant from household on the enrollment of left-behind children. Public policy to help retain children in school and provide them sufficient support so that they perform desirably in school is highly indispensable given that local and national economic development relies also on accumulation of human capital. It is also important to note that support for these children may differ from those for children whose parents left them because of divorce, death or domestic violence.


Project leader: Sokcheng Sim

Project researchers: PHON DARY | Bopha Ker | Khiev Pirom

Scientific mentors: Francesca Marchetta

Journal publication

Authors Co-Authors Title of paper Title of Economic Review Bibliographic references
Francesca Marchetta, Sokcheng Sim <p>The effect of parental migration on the schooling of children left behind in rural Cambodia</p> World Development

Volume 146, 
October 2021,
Article 105593


Working Papers

Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
The Effect of Parental Migration on the Schooling of Children Left Behind in Rural Cambodia 2020-03-11 1.89MB 0 0

Policy Briefs

Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
Parental migration significantly reduces children’s school performance in rural Cambodia 2020-03-24 1.41MB 0 0

Final report

Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
2019-07-24 926.18kB 0 0


Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
Migration, Remittances and Child Schooling in Rural Cambodia 2018-09-18 472.70kB 0 0

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