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Migration, Remittances and Public Transfers: Evidence from South Africa

  • Alex Sienaert
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    What drives migration and remittance behaviour in South Africa, and what are the implications for public policy? This paper evaluates existing empirical evidence, posits a simple theoretical model and undertakes a fresh evaluation using longitudinal data spanning 1993 to 2004 from KwaZula-Natal province. Findings generally accord with expectations if migration is a family income-optimising strategy, with remittances sustained by migrant altruism. The key policy-relevant result is that receipt of public transfer income raises the likelihood of migration (most likely because migration is costly and households face liquidity constraints) and hence crowds in private transfers on average.

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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper351.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 351.

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    Date of creation: 01 Sep 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:351
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    Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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    1. Ingrid Woolard & Stephan Klasen, 2005. "Determinants of Income Mobility and Household Poverty Dynamics in South Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 865-897.
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    7. Doss, Cheryl R, 2001. "Is Risk Fully Pooled within the Household? Evidence from Ghana," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 101-30, October.
    8. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1988. "Risk, Implicit Contracts and the Family in Rural Areas of Low-income Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1148-70, December.
    9. Marianne Bertrand & Douglas Miller & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from South Africa," NBER Working Papers 7594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Pramila Krishnan & Stefan Dercon, 1997. "In sickness and in health ... risk-sharing within households in rural Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 1997-12, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    11. Justine Burns & Malcolm Keswell & Murray Leibbrandt, 2005. "Social Assistance, Gender, And The Aged In South Africa," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 103-115.
    12. 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.
    13. Kochar, Anjini, 1995. "Explaining Household Vulnerability to Idiosyncratic Income Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 159-64, May.
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    15. Malcolm Keswell, 2004. "Non-Linear Earnings Dynamics In Post-Apartheid South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 913-939, December.
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