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Measuring remittances through surveys

Author

Listed:
  • Richard Brown

    (University of Queensland)

  • Jørgen Carling

    (Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO))

  • Sonja Fransen

    (Maastricht University)

  • Melissa Siegel

    (Maastricht University)

Abstract

Background: The accurate measurement of migrant remittances is central to understanding both the dynamics and the consequences of migration. Empirical studies rely on survey data about remittances, which are difficult to collect in a precise and reliable form. Objective: We explore the complexities and the challenges associated with the design of surveys on migrants‘ remittances, drawing upon our experiences over a number of studies in which we compiled and analysed data on migrants‘ remittances across a wide range of countries and contexts. Our goal is not to prescribe specific solutions, but rather to raise awareness of key methodological choices and their implications, not only among those engaged in survey design, but also among analysts who rely on data collected by others. Methods: We specify a number of definitional, methodological, and conceptual issues the researcher must address before embarking on the task of survey and questionnaire design. These include the need to take into account the various forms that remittances may take, the different channels through which they are transferred, the parties and relationships which could be involved, and the differences in the perspectives of senders and recipients, and of individuals and households. We also examine the implications of survey issues related to the sensitivity and the reliability of responses. Conclusions: Our results suggest that both survey designers and analysts who are relying on survey data collected by others should (1) be aware of the specific methodological choices involved in collecting survey data about remittances; and (2) set priorities that reflect (a) the substantive objective of the study, (b) the particular context at hand, and (c) the value of generating results comparable to those of surveys in other contexts.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Brown & Jørgen Carling & Sonja Fransen & Melissa Siegel, 2014. "Measuring remittances through surveys," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(41), pages 1243-1274.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:31:y:2014:i:41
    DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2014.31.41
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    File URL: https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol31/41/31-41.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fisher, Monica & Reimer, Jeffrey J. & Carr, Edward R., 2010. "Who Should be Interviewed in Surveys of Household Income?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 966-973, July.
    2. Richard Brown & Gareth Leeves, 2011. "Comparative effects of migrants' remittances on composition of recipient household income in two small, island economies," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(27), pages 3965-3976.
    3. Richard Adams, 2011. "Evaluating the Economic Impact of International Remittances On Developing Countries Using Household Surveys: A Literature Review," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(6), pages 809-828.
    4. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frederic, 2006. "The Economics of Migrants' Remittances," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, in: S. Kolm & Jean Mercier Ythier (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 17, pages 1135-1198, Elsevier.
    5. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 2001. "Estimating Wealth Effects Without Expenditure Data—Or Tears: An Application To Educational Enrollments In States Of India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(1), pages 115-132, February.
    6. Richard Brown & Eliana Jimenez, 2011. "Subjectively-assessed Welfare and International Remittances: Evidence from Tonga," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(6), pages 829-845.
    7. Ernestina Coast & Sara Randall & Kate Hampshire, 2007. "Disciplining anthropological demography," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 16(16), pages 493-518.
    8. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-918, October.
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    10. Jørgen Carling, 2014. "Scripting Remittances: Making Sense of Money Transfers in Transnational Relationships," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48, pages 218-262, September.
    11. Dennis Ahlburg & Richard Brown, 1998. "Migrants' intentions to return home and capital transfers: A study of Tongans and Samoans in Australia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 125-151.
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    13. Loschman C. & Siegel M., 2013. "The Influence of Vulnerability on Migration Intentions in Afghanistan," MERIT Working Papers 038, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giulia Bettin & Riccardo Lucchetti & Claudia Pigini, 2016. "State dependence and unobserved heterogeneity in a double hurdle model for remittances: evidence from immigrants to Germany," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 127, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    2. Giulia Bettin & Riccardo Lucchetti, 2016. "Steady streams and sudden bursts: persistence patterns in remittance decisions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 263-292, January.
    3. repec:mnb:finrev:v:17:y:2018:i:3:p:85-108 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Meseguer, Covadonga & Lavezzolo, Sebastián & Aparicio, Javier, 2016. "Financial remittances, trans-border conversations, and the state," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68273, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    remittances; survey methodology; sampling; migration; questionnaire design; household data;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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