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Migrant Remittances and Information Flows: Evidence from a Field Experiment

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  • Catia Batista
  • Gaia Narciso

Abstract

Do information flows matter for remittance behavior? We design and implement a randomized control trial to quantitatively assess the role of communication between migrants and their international network on the extent and value of remittance flows. In the experiment, a random sample of 1,500 migrants residing in Ireland was offered the possibility of contacting their networks outside the host country for free over a varying number of months. We find a sizeable positive impact of our intervention on the value of migrant remittances sent. Larger remittance responses are associated with individuals who are employed and earn higher incomes. This evidence is consistent with the idea that the observed increase in remittances is not a consequence of relaxed budget constraints due to subsidized communication costs but rather a likely result of improved information, perhaps due to better migrant control over remittance use, enhanced trust in remittance channels due to experience sharing, or increased remittance recipients’ social pressure on migrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Catia Batista & Gaia Narciso, 2018. "Migrant Remittances and Information Flows: Evidence from a Field Experiment," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 32(1), pages 203-219.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:32:y:2018:i:1:p:203-219.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lhw058
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Catia Batista & Pedro C. Vicente, 2013. "Introducing mobile money in rural Mozambique: Evidence from a field experiment," FEUNL Working Paper Series novafrica:wp1301, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    2. Emily A. Beam & David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2016. "Unilateral Facilitation Does Not Raise International Labor Migration from the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(2), pages 323-368.
    3. Farré, Lídia & Fasani, Francesco, 2013. "Media exposure and internal migration — Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 48-61.
    4. Nava Ashraf & Diego Aycinena & Claudia Martínez A. & Dean Yang, 2015. "Savings in Transnational Households: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 332-351, May.
    5. Ambler, Kate, 2013. "Don’t tell on me: Experimental evidence of asymmetric information in transnational households:," IFPRI discussion papers 1312, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Dean Yang, 2011. "Migrant Remittances," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 129-152, Summer.
    7. Nava Ashraf & Diego Aycinena & Claudia Martínez & Dean Yang, 2011. "Remittances and the Problem of Control: A Field Experiment Among Migrants from El Salvador," Working Papers wp341, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    8. Elsner, Benjamin & Narciso, Gaia & Thijssen, Jacco J. J., 2013. "Migrant Networks and the Spread of Misinformation," IZA Discussion Papers 7863, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Batista, Catia & Silverman, Dan & Yang, Dean, 2015. "Directed giving: Evidence from an inter-household transfer experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 2-21.
    10. McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2013. "A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold: Do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 116-127.
    11. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
    12. repec:oup:wbecrv:v:31:y:2017:i:1:p:24-43. is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Batista, Catia & Umblijs, Janis, 2014. "Do Migrants Send Remittances as a Way of Self-Insurance? Evidence from a Representative Immigrant Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 7984, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Catia Batista & Dan Silverman & Dean Yang, 2013. "Directed Giving: Evidence from an Inter-Household Transfer Experiment," FEUNL Working Paper Series novafrica:wp1302, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    15. Catia Batista & Janis Umblijs, 2016. "Do migrants send remittances as a way of self-insurance?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 108-130.
    16. Chort, Isabelle & Gubert, Flore & Senne, Jean-Noël, 2012. "Migrant networks as a basis for social control: Remittance incentives among Senegalese in France and Italy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 858-874.
    17. Catia Batista & Pedro C. Vicente, 2013. "Introducing mobile money in rural Mozambique: Evidence from a field experiment," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1301, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    18. Kate Ambler & Diego Aycinena & Dean Yang, 2015. "Channeling Remittances to Education: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 207-232, April.
    19. Aker, Jenny C. & Clemens, Michael A. & Ksoll, Christopher, 2011. "Mobiles and mobility: The Effect of Mobile Phones on Migration in Niger," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 2, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    20. Ganesh Seshan & Robertas Zubrickas, 2017. "Asymmetric Information about Migrant Earnings and Remittance Flows," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(1), pages 24-43.
    21. Ambler, Kate, 2015. "Don't tell on me: Experimental evidence of asymmetric information in transnational households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 52-69.
    22. Chen, Joyce J., 2013. "Identifying non-cooperative behavior among spouses: Child outcomes in migrant-sending households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 1-18.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2015. "Evidence on Policies to Increase the Development Impacts of International Migration," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 155-192.
    2. Ambler, Kate, 2015. "Don't tell on me: Experimental evidence of asymmetric information in transnational households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 52-69.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:1192-:d:141179 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Catia Batista & Janis Umblijs, 2016. "Do migrants send remittances as a way of self-insurance?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 108-130.
    5. Narciso Gaia, 2015. "Labour and migration in rural Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series 095, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Joachim De Weerdt & Garance Genicot & Alice Mesnard, 2019. "Asymmetry of Information within Family Networks," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(1), pages 225-254.
    7. Catia Batista & Ana Isabel Costa, 2016. "Assessing the role of social networks on migrant labor market outcomes: Evidence from a representative immigrant survey," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1601, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    8. repec:zbw:medamr:182240 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Batista, Catia & Silverman, Dan & Yang, Dean, 2015. "Directed giving: Evidence from an inter-household transfer experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 2-21.
    10. Catia Batista & Francesco Cestari, 2016. "Migrant intentions to return: The role of migrant social networks," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1602, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    11. Molina Millán, Teresa, 2015. "Regional Migration, Insurance and Economic Shocks: Evidence from Nicaragua," IZA Discussion Papers 9494, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Catia Batista & Ana Isabel Costa, 2016. "Assessing the role of social networks on migrant labor market outcomes: Evidence from a representative immigrant survey," FEUNL Working Paper Series novaf:wp1601, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    13. Flore Gubert, 2014. "The discourse and practice of co-development in Europe," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 5, pages 113-151 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Marlon Seror, 2015. "Modeling and Measuring Information Asymmetry in the Context of Senegalese Migrants' Remittances," Working Papers DT/2015/23, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    15. 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

    migrant remittances; information flows; international migration; migrant networks; randomized control trial;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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