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Family Prestige as Old-Age Security: Evidence from Rural Senegal

  • Jean-Luc Demonsant


    (Department of Economics and Finance, Universidad de Guanajuato)

This paper aims at studying the self-enforcing family contract between a migrant son and his ageing father who remained in the village and expects to receive support. In 2004, a household survey conducted in the Senegal River Valley was especially designed to account for the complex socio-political structure of the local institutions. The empirical results suggest that the social rank of the family within the village is a key to the enforcement mechanisms at work. Indeed, while belonging to a prestigious family lowers the probability of migrating, it raises the probability of frequently remitting to the patriarch. Conversely, sons from historically disadvantaged groups are more likely to both migrate and cut ties with their village of origin, including their family. Additional qualitative evidence is rather suggestive that despite their economic success, low status migrants keep being stigmatized in their village of origin. Hence, inheriting his father's dominant position in the village represents a strong incentive for a migrant son from a high-ranked family to remit. Under such circumstances, patriarchs from prestigious families only, can actually rely on their migrating sons as old-age security.

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Paper provided by Universidad de Guanajuato, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Department of Economics and Finance Working Papers with number EC200802.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gua:wpaper:ec200802
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  1. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1992. "Solidarity Networks in Preindustrial Societies: Rational Peasants with a Moral Economy," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 147-74, October.
  2. Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1986. "Risk, Implicit Contracts and the Family in Rural Areas of Low-Income Countries," Bulletins 7518, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  3. Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
  4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5126 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Jean-Paul Azam & Flore Gubert, 2006. "Migrants' Remittances and the Household in Africa: A Review of Evidence," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(2), pages 426-462, December.
  6. 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 901-18, October.
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