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International Migration, Remittances, and Schooling: Evidence from El Salvador


  • Alejandra Cox Edwards
  • Manuelita Ureta


We examine the effect of remittances from abroad on households' schooling decisions using data for El Salvador. Following the massive war-related emigration of the 1980's, remittances became a significant source of household income throughout the 1990's. We use the Cox proportional hazard model to examine the determinants of school attendance. Measuring income from a source that is uncorrelated with parental schooling remittances , we find that remittances have a large, significant effect on school retention. We estimate that while household income net of remittances has a small, though significant, impact on the hazard of leaving school in rural and urban areas, remittances have a much larger impact on the hazard of leaving school. In urban areas, the effect of remittances is, at its smallest, 10 times the size of the effect of other income. In rural areas, the effect of remittances is about 2.6 times that of other income. Our finding is of interest in that it suggests that subsidizing school attendance, particularly in poor areas, may have a large impact on school attendance and retention, even if parents have low levels of schooling.

Suggested Citation

  • Alejandra Cox Edwards & Manuelita Ureta, 2003. "International Migration, Remittances, and Schooling: Evidence from El Salvador," NBER Working Papers 9766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9766
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    1. Al-Samarrai, Samer & Peasgood, Tessa, 1998. "Educational attainments and household characteristics in Tanzania," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 395-417, October.
    2. Lee A. Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 1994. "Intergenerational Educational Mobility: Effects of Family and State in Malaysia," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1126-1166.
    3. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
    4. William L. Parish & Robert J. Willis, 1993. "Daughters, Education, and Family Budgets Taiwan Experiences," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(4), pages 863-898.
    5. Chuang, Hwei-Lin, 1997. "High school youths' dropout and re-enrollment behavior," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 171-186, April.
    6. Wolfe, Barbara L. & Behrman, Jere R., 1984. "Who is schooled in developing countries? The roles of income, parental schooling, sex, residence and family size," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 231-245, June.
    7. Behrman, Jere R & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1984. "The Socioeconomic Impact of Schooling in a Developing Country," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(2), pages 296-303, May.
    8. Jimenez, Emmanuel & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 1999. "Do Community-Managed Schools Work? An Evaluation of El Salvador's EDUCO Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(3), pages 415-441, September.
    9. Schultz, T. Paul, 1988. "Education investments and returns," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 543-630 Elsevier.
    10. Donald O. Parsons, 1975. "Intergenerational Wealth Transfers and the Educational Decisions of Male Youth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 89(4), pages 603-617.
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    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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