Gender and rural out-migration in the southern Ecuadorian Andes

This paper investigates the roles of gender and natural capital (defined as land and associated environmental services) in out-migration from a rural study area in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. Drawing on original household survey data, I construct and compare multivariate event history models of individual-level, household-level, and community-level influences on the migration of men and women. The results undermine common assumptions that landlessness and environmental degradation universally contribute to out-migration. Instead, men access land resources to facilitate international migration and women are less likely to depart from environmentally marginal communities relative to other areas. These results reflect a significantly gendered migration system in which natural capital plays an important but unexpected role.

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