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The role of social capital in the remittance decisions of Mexican migrants from 1969 to 2000

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  • Kasey Q. Maggard

Abstract

Remittances from migrants in the United States play a major role in the Mexican economy. This paper analyzes the role that different types of social capital play in the remittances decisions of Mexican migrants. Both the decision to remit and the decision on how much to remit are analyzed. The model, based on the idea of enlightened altruism, assumes that the migrant makes his decisions based on his own well-being as well as that of his household in Mexico and his community in Mexico. Social capital is defined as the resources one gains from relationships and networks. Four different types of social capital are identified in this paper: hometown-friendship networks in the United States, family networks in the United States, other-ethnicity-based networks in the United States, and community networks in Mexico. Social capital from friendships proves to be very positively significant in both the decision to remit and how much to remit. However, for all of the observations, familial social capital is not significant in either the decision to remit or how much to remit, although familial social capital has a positive role in both tests. Other-ethnicity-based social capital negatively influences both decisions and is significant in both as well. Social capital in Mexico has a significant negative impact on the two remittance decisions. Beyond social capital, this paper provides insight into other factors that affect remittance decisions including income, bank accounts, proximity to Mexico, exchange rate, interest rate differential, community infrastructure, the number of members in the Mexican household, Mexican household consumption, and time trends. In addition, to investigate time trends further, separate regressions were run on those observations where the last migration took place before 1991 and those whose last migration occurred after 1990.

Suggested Citation

  • Kasey Q. Maggard, 2004. "The role of social capital in the remittance decisions of Mexican migrants from 1969 to 2000," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-29, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2004-29
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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1988. "Family Economics and Macro Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 1-13, March.
    2. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-918, October.
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    4. Poirine, Bernard, 1997. "A theory of remittances as an implicit family loan arrangement," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 589-611, January.
    5. Hoddinott, John, 1994. "A Model of Migration and Remittances Applied to Western Kenya," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 459-476, July.
    6. J. Edward Taylor & Scott Rozelle & Alan deBrauw, 1999. "Migration, Remittances, and Agricultural Productivity in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 287-291, May.
    7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10842 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Flore Gubert, 2002. "Do Migrants Insure Those who Stay Behind? Evidence from the Kayes Area (Western Mali)," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(3), pages 267-287.
    9. Funkhouser, Edward, 1995. "Remittances from International Migration: A Comparison of El Salvador and Nicaragua," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 137-146, February.
    10. Dennis Ahlburg & Richard Brown, 1998. "Migrants' intentions to return home and capital transfers: A study of Tongans and Samoans in Australia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 125-151.
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