Does food insecurity hinder migration ?: experimental evidence from the Indian public distribution system

People may avoid migrating if they cannot insure themselves against the risk of a bad outcome. Governments can reduce the consumption risk faced by migrants by allowing them to access social protection programs in the destination. This study randomly informed around 62,000 households across 18 Indian states about a new program allowing migrants to collect their food ration across the country, together with information about practical barriers to using the program. Four months later, treated households held lower beliefs about food ration portability, and were less likely to migrate to cities. The findings indicate that food insecurity risk reduces urban migration.