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Subjectively-assessed Welfare and International Remittances: Evidence from Tonga

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  • Richard Brown
  • Eliana Jimenez

Abstract

Using data from a customised household survey in Tonga we assess the responsiveness of migrants' remittances to perceived needs of recipients. We extend a mixed-motives model, incorporating subjectively-assessed recipient welfare. We find evidence supportive of altruism for households below a subjective threshold, implying that remittances provide important social protection for the poor. We also find a positive relationship for those above the threshold implying that welfare improvements in migrant-sending countries could increase or decrease remittance flows depending on pre-transfer welfare level. The effects of remittances on poverty alleviation and income distribution are hence more complex and ambiguous than previous studies suggest.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:6:p:829-845 DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2010.501376
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard P.C. Brown & Gareth Leeves & Prabha Prayaga, 2014. "Sharing Norm Pressures and Community Remittances: Evidence from a Natural Disaster in the Pacific Islands," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(3), pages 383-398, March.
    2. Alpaslan Akay & Corrado Giulietti & Juan Robalino & Klaus Zimmermann, 2014. "Remittances and well-being among rural-to-urban migrants in China," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 517-546, September.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01cn69m419r is not listed on IDEAS
    5. La, Hai Anh & Xu, Ying, 2017. "Remittances, social security, and the crowding-out effect: Evidence from Vietnam," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 42-59.
    6. Fransen, Sonja & Mazzucato, Valentina, 2014. "Remittances and Household Wealth after Conflict: A Case Study on Urban Burundi," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 57-68.
    7. 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, November.

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