Migrant networks as a basis for social control: Remittance incentives among Senegalese in France and Italy
The economic literature provides much evidence of the positive impact of social capital on migrants' economic outcomes, in particular through assistance upon arrival and insurance in times of hardship. Yet, although much less documented, migrant networks may well have a great influence on remittances to their home country and particularly to their origin households. Given all the services provided by the network, the fear of being ostracized by network members and being left with no support could provide incentives for migrants to commit to prevailing redistribution norms. In this perspective, remittances may be a fee that migrants pay to get access to network services. In this paper, we thus analyze to what extent migrant networks in the destination country influence the degree to which migrants meet the claims of those left behind. We first review existing models of remitting behavior and investigate how the potential role of networks could affect their main predictions. We then provide a simple illustrative theoretical framework to account for the double impact networks may have on remitting behavior, through the provision of services to migrants and the spread of information flows between home and host countries. We finally use an original dataset of 602 Senegalese migrants residing in France and Italy to explore the main predictions of our model.
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