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Do happiness and foreign aid affect bilateral migrant remittances?


  • B. Mak Arvin
  • Byron Lew


Purpose - Studies on the determinants of remittances focus primarily on a single country or undertake cross-country analyses using aggregate data. By comparison, there is a dearth of empirical evidence on the determinants of remittances from multiple host to multiple destination countries. To address this deficiency, the purpose of this paper is to use a novel dataset which captures these bilateral flows. Design/methodology/approach - The paper concentrates on three sets of explanatory variables: those which characterize the pair relationship, those that pertain to migrants' host country, and those related to the migrants' home country. Findings - Cultural and political factors play a fundamental role. Altruism is not key in migrant remittances; investment motives are more important. Bilateral aid inflows bear a direct relationship to remittances. The marginal effect of happiness (in migrants' host and home countries) on remittances is positive for a large percentage of countries in the sample. Practical implications - Results nullify the oft-asserted role of remittances in assisting with adverse economic conditions, such as inflation. They also identify a possible nexus between remittances and foreign aid – a link that heretofore has not been identified or discussed in the literature or recognized by policy-makers. Originality/value - The contribution of the paper is its use of bilateral data to present evidence on remittances capturing not only North-South, but also South-South flows. The paper also contributes to the literature by considering, for the first time, some additional variables as potential determinants of remittances, chief among them the level of happiness of migrants' host and home countries, as well as the level of aid disbursed to migrants' home country.

Suggested Citation

  • B. Mak Arvin & Byron Lew, 2012. "Do happiness and foreign aid affect bilateral migrant remittances?," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(2), pages 212-230, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:v:39:y:2012:i:2:p:212-230

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Toda, Hiro Y. & Yamamoto, Taku, 1995. "Statistical inference in vector autoregressions with possibly integrated processes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1-2), pages 225-250.
    3. R. Scott Hacker & Abdulnasser Hatemi-J, 2005. "A test for multivariate ARCH effects," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(7), pages 411-417.
    4. R. Scott Hacker & Abdulnasser Hatemi-J, 2006. "Tests for causality between integrated variables using asymptotic and bootstrap distributions: theory and application," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(13), pages 1489-1500.
    5. Hatemi-J, Abdulnasser, 2004. "Multivariate tests for autocorrelation in the stable and unstable VAR models," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 661-683, July.
    6. Engle, Robert F, 1982. "Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity with Estimates of the Variance of United Kingdom Inflation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 987-1007, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Asongu, Simplice & Nwachukwu, Jacinta, 2016. "Is the Threat of Foreign Aid Withdrawal an Effective Deterrent to Political Oppression? Evidence from 53 African Countries," MPRA Paper 74649, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2017. "Not all that glitters is gold: ICT and inclusive human development in Sub-Saharan Africa," International Journal of Happiness and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(4), pages 303-322.
    3. Simplice Asongu, 2016. "Reinventing Foreign Aid For Inclusive And Sustainable Development: Kuznets, Piketty And The Great Policy Reversal," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 736-755, September.
    4. Asongu Simplice, 2014. "The Evolving Debate on the Effect of Foreign Aid on Corruption and Institutions in Africa," Working Papers 14/009, African Governance and Development Institute..
    5. Simplice Asongu, 2014. "A brief clarification to the questionable economics of foreign aid for inclusive human development," Working Papers 14/028, African Governance and Development Institute..
    6. Asongu, Simplice, 2014. "Reinventing foreign aid for inclusive and sustainable development: a survey," MPRA Paper 65300, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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