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Immigrant Networks and Remittances: Cheaper together?

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  • Ainhoa Aparicio Fenoll
  • Zoe Kuehn

Abstract

We estimate the causal effects of immigrant networks on individuals' remittance sending behavior for migrants from many different countries residing in Spain. Our methodology addresses typical issues that arise when estimating network effects: reverse causality, common unobserved factors, and self-selection. In particular, we instrument the size of networks by predicting the number of migrants in each lo- cation using the location's accessibility by distinct methods of transportation and information about how migrants from each country arrived in Spain. Our findings show that immigrants from above-average remitting countries remit more if they live in larger networks. Testing for mechanisms of network e ects, we also find that these migrants are more likely to send remittances via bank transfers, which sug- gests that large networks of individuals who remit a lot might be better at sharing information about cheaper remittance channels (bank transfers compared to money orders in post offices or agencies). In line with this hypothesis, we find that due to network effects migrants shy away from the most expensive remittance channels, potentially freeing resources for additional remittances. Furthermore, cost spreads between the most expensive and cheapest providers are lower for countries charac- terized by high remittances and stronger networks, suggesting that network effects might be competition-enhancing.

Suggested Citation

  • Ainhoa Aparicio Fenoll & Zoe Kuehn, 2017. "Immigrant Networks and Remittances: Cheaper together?," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 497, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:497
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    Keywords

    immigrant networks; remittances; migration; Spain;

    JEL classification:

    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics

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