The significance of foreign labour migration and land for poverty reduction in Nepal

Ramesh Sunam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Nepal has witnessed a decline in poverty in the last decade, although GDP growth is low and stagnant at around 4 %. What explains this decline is little researched. Descent poverty, or how some households tend to fall into poverty, is another important facet of poverty dynamics, which has also received little scholarly attention. This paper, therefore, examines pathways leading to poverty dynamics in rural Nepal. Employing the ‘Stages of Progress ’ methodology, this paper shows that nearly one-third of the total 386 households studied have escaped poverty, while 7 % have fallen into poverty over the last two decades. Foreign labour migration, small business and access to land define the movement of most households out of poverty, whereas loss of land, cultural burdens and health costs are the main factors associated with descent into poverty. This paper suggests two distinct sets of policies for promoting escape from poverty and for preventing descent into poverty. Such policies need to consider the situation of the poor who are unable to pursue labour migration, and the left behind household members, enabling their access to land and creating local employment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEconomic Studies in Inequality, Social Exclusion and Well-Being
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameEconomic Studies in Inequality, Social Exclusion and Well-Being
ISSN (Print)2364-107X
ISSN (Electronic)2364-1088


  • Agriculture
  • Foreign migration
  • Land
  • Nepal
  • Poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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