A critical discussion of the motivations to remit in Albania and Moldova

    A critical discussion of the motivations to remit in Albania and Moldova
    by Hagen-Zanker, Jessica Sabine and Melissa Siegel

    Since the 1980s, the theoretical and empirical literature on the
    motivations to remit has grown steadily. We review the microeconomic
    literature and show that the theoretical motivations to remit are
    overlapping while competing. We argue that in most cases this
    differentiation is unnecessary and makes the subsequent empirical
    applications weak. We apply the theories in Albania and Moldova, two
    countries that experience high migration and remittance flows, using
    household survey data. We focus on finding evidence for the theoretical
    motivations to remit such as altruism, loan repayment, co-insurance and
    the bequest motive and using a similar methodology and approach as
    previous empirical research. As for other empirical papers, the analysis
    leads to doubtful and multi-interpretable results. We argue that this
    problem is caused by weak operationalisation and inseparability of
    motives, compounded by data problems. Furthermore we argue that the
    decision to remit should not be looked at in isolation. It is apparent
    that the causes and patterns of migration in Albania and Moldova
    influence the remitting behaviour and most migrants migrate in order to
    remit. It is thus vital to link the decision to migrate with the
    decision to remit and to broaden the focus beyond the economic
    literature and consequently provide a more relevant and clearer answer
    to the question why remittances are sent.

    Appears in: MGSoG Working Paper Series (discontinued)
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