Reshaping the Post-Soviet Periphery: The Impact of Men’s Labor Migration on Women’s Lives and Aspirations in Rural Armenia

Victor Agadjanian, Arizona State University
Arusyak Sevoyan, Arizona State University
Cecilia Menjivar, Arizona State University

In this paper we use recent survey and qualitative data to examine the impact of men’s labor migration from rural Armenia to Russia on their wives’ economic conditions and activities, social networks, and proclivity to migrate. We find that households with labor migrants have considerably higher incomes than households without migrants and that this gap is wider in the poorer province. However, we find no difference in women’s own employment status and incomes. Households’ agricultural and consumer assets reflect the value of these assets in rural society and the presence/absence of adult males. Women with migrant husbands are found to have more interactions with other villagers, yet, at the same time, less financial dependence on them. While women with migrant husbands are significantly more optimistic about the material future of their households, they are, ceteris paribus, also more inclined to migrating out of their villages than women with non-migrant husbands.

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Presented in Session 9: Gender and Migration