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Sending money home: are remittances always beneficial to those who stay behind?


  • Sarah Bracking

    (Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)


This paper examines the importance of remittances from international migrants to those who stay behind. The paper looks in particular at the Zimbabwean case, and argues that while money sent from the 'other side' has a beneficial effect on close kin, remittances can also undermine the purchasing power of those households without migrating members. This is in part a result of asset price inflation, and in part due to the inflationary effects of parallel currency markets. The situation for those excluded from benefiting from foreign currency inputs is aggravated by chronic scarcity in the availability of consumables. The paper argues that further research is required to understand the costs, as well as the benefits, of money sent home by migrants, in terms of assessing the class and social agency of different groups of remittance senders and receivers. The paper suggests that one non-economic, but significant effect, of remittance-underwritten parallel markets might be an undermining of inclusive governance and democratic state accountability in the long-run. © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Bracking, 2003. "Sending money home: are remittances always beneficial to those who stay behind?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(5), pages 633-644.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:15:y:2003:i:5:p:633-644
    DOI: 10.1002/jid.1021

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stark, Oded & Bloom, David E, 1985. "The New Economics of Labor Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 173-178, May.
    2. Claude Sumata, 2002. "Migradollars & poverty alleviation strategy issues in Congo (DRC)," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(93-94), pages 619-628, September.
    3. repec:bla:blaboo:1557860300 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Elbadawi, Ibrahim & de Rezende Rocha, Robert, 1992. "Determinants of expatriate workers'remittances in North Africa and Europe," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1038, The World Bank.
    5. Djajic, Slobodan, 1986. "International migration, remittances and welfare in a dependent economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 229-234, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Pop, 2006. "The Developmental Effectiveness of Remittances: Case Study on Huedin Town, Romania," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 64, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    2. Deb, Partha & Seck, Papa, 2009. "Internal Migration, Selection Bias and Human Development: Evidence from Indonesia and Mexico," MPRA Paper 19214, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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