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Migration, Remittances and Public Transfers: Evidence from South Africa

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  • Alex Sienaert
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    Abstract

    What drives migration and remittance behaviour in South Africa, and what are the implications for public policy? This paper evaluates existing empirical evidence, posits a simple theoretical model and undertakes a fresh evaluation using longitudinal data spanning 1993 to 2004 from KwaZula-Natal province. Findings generally accord with expectations if migration is a family income-optimising strategy, with remittances sustained by migrant altruism. The key policy-relevant result is that receipt of public transfer income raises the likelihood of migration (most likely because migration is costly and households face liquidity constraints) and hence crowds in private transfers on average.

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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper351.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 351.

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    Date of creation: 01 Sep 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:351

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    Keywords: South Africa; Migration; Remittances; Public Pensions;

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    1. Poirine, Bernard, 1997. "A theory of remittances as an implicit family loan arrangement," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 589-611, January.
    2. Alderman, Harold & Watkins, Susan Cotts & Kohler, Hans-Peter & Maluccio, John A. & Behrman, Jere R., 2000. "Attrition in longitudinal household survey data," FCND discussion papers 96, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    6. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 1997. "In sickness and in health... risk-sharing within households in rural Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1997-12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Douglas Miller, 2003. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from Pensions in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 27-50, June.
    8. Ingrid Woolard & Stephan Klasen, 2005. "Determinants of Income Mobility and Household Poverty Dynamics in South Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 865-897.
    9. Carter, Michael R. & Maluccio, John A., 2003. "Social Capital and Coping with Economic Shocks: An Analysis of Stunting of South African Children," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1147-1163, July.
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    11. Case, A. & Deaton, A., 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Papers 176, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
    12. Malcolm Keswell, 2004. "Non-Linear Earnings Dynamics In Post-Apartheid South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 913-939, December.
    13. Justine Burns & Malcolm Keswell & Murray Leibbrandt, 2005. "Social Assistance, Gender, And The Aged In South Africa," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 103-115.
    14. Maitra, Pushkar & Ray, Ranjan, 2003. "The effect of transfers on household expenditure patterns and poverty in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 23-49, June.
    15. Kochar, Anjini, 1995. "Explaining Household Vulnerability to Idiosyncratic Income Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 159-64, May.
    16. Doss, Cheryl R, 2001. "Is Risk Fully Pooled within the Household? Evidence from Ghana," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 101-30, October.
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