Social and Economic Determinants of Migration and Remittances

Filiz Garip, Princeton University

This study reviews the literature on the determinants of migration and remittances, and suggests modeling individuals’ decisions to migrate and their subsequent remittance behavior as interrelated events. Prior work assumes independence or complete dependence between individuals’ migration and remittance motivations. To relax these assumptions, the paper assesses the economic theories of migration and identifies their predictions about remittances. The literature on remittances is also reviewed to determine the economic and social factors that affect remittance decisions. The ultimate goal is to merge these two literatures, and establish a more general theory of migration and remittance behavior. To reach this goal, the paper develops hypotheses about the connections between individuals’ decisions to migrate and remit. Using a unique prospective, multi-level, longitudinal data set from 22 villages in Thailand, these hypotheses are subjected to empirical scrutiny. The findings support the empirical, methodological and theoretical value of this exercise.

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Presented in Session 80: Macroeconomic Consequences of Migration