The Other Face of Migration: How Do Labor Migration and Remittances Affect Children's Education in South Africa

Yao Lu, University of California, Los Angeles
Donald J. Treiman, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper studies the effect of remittances sent home by South African labor migrants on their children’s schooling outcomes, using data from the 1993-1994 Integrated Household Survey, a national probability sample of about 9,000 South African households. We find that about 30% of the Black households surveyed, but only small fractions of households of other racial groups, have received remittances in the previous year. Most of the analysis is thus restricted to Black households. In such households, receipt of remittances substantially increases the likelihood that children are in school and reduces gender inequalities in schooling. The benefits of remittances are largely restricted to rural households. Finally, migration remittances seem to increase community-level inequalities regarding schooling. The paper includes a number of sensitivity tests designed to assess bias due to endogeneity; some of these tests exploit a second wave of data collected in 1998 for a subset of the original sample.

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Presented in Session 22: Social and Environmental Consequences of Migration