IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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. Simplice Asongu, 2014. "Reinventing foreign aid for inclusive and sustainable development: a survey," Working Papers 14/033, African Governance and Development Institute..
    5. 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..
    6. 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..


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:v:39:y:2012:i:2:p:212-230. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.