Remittances from International Migration. A way Towards More Equality? (Working Group International Migration)

Since the late 1990s financial remittances from international migration are expanding rapidly on a global level, and meanwhile have reached a level which is a multiple of that of international development aid and is characterized by a stronger degree of resilience than foreign direct investment. Millions of families all over the world are dependent on the transfers of family members working abroad and for numerous low-income countries they are the major source of foreign exchange, the most influential sector of the economy, and an essential means of social stabilization.  In many marginal regions they are keeping the smallholder sector aliveand provide a social security to the elder

There is also ample empirical evidence – mostly based on case-study approaches – of a positive impact on poverty reduction. Also, macro-economic growth resulting from labor export has given rise to the hope that international migration would stimulate the development of the regions of out-migration in a way which in future would make such migrations obsolete.

Against that background for a long time it has usually been taken for granted that – being essentially a part of poorer families’ income enhancing strategies – remittances would contribute to reduce inequalities of living standards at the community, national and international level. This view is increasingly challenged by including hitherto neglected more neglected aspects, like macro-economic repercussions, long-term effects, labour market implications, gender differences, or mounting dependencies. Hence it has been policy-relevant to substitute it by the research question: “Under which conditions may remittances exacerbate inequalities?” And as a follow-up “What are the consequences for social stability and for economic development?” These are questions our panel will focus on, also with a vision to derive policy implications.

We are inviting papers addressing, for example, the following questions with a focus on equality implications, as micro- (household)-level, community-level, national-level or international-level studies:

  • How far do remittances contribute to poverty reduction?
  • Does the inflow of remittances help poorer countries to “catch up”?
  • Under which conditions do remittances contribute to sustainable enhancement of household incomes (e.g. via investment in productive assets)?
  • What are the differences between short-term and long-term implications of remittances on livelihood security?
  • What is the relationship between remittances inflow and education?
  • Under which conditions do remittances contribute to Dutch Disease?

If a larger number of eligible papers are submitted to our panel we might consider to split it into focused sub-Panels.


Beatrice Knerr and Mary-Rose Sarausad