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Motives and Giving Norms behind Remittances: the Case of Filipino Overseas Workers and their Recipient Households

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  • Alba, Michael M.
  • Sugui, Jessaine Soraya C.

Abstract

The literature has focused on motives to explain remittance behavior. But as nonanonymous transfers, remittances are apt to be influenced by giving norms as well. We formulate an empirical specification that takes account of remittance motives involving worker-household pairs. We find that altruism dominates the exchange motive among overseas workers who are likely to be the primary breadwinners of their recipient households. We also find that in the subsample in which overseas workers are likely to be secondary breadwinners, (a) household labor income is an endogenous explanatory variable, and (b) the error covariance of the household income and remittance selection equations is positive. A possible reason for (a) is that secondary breadwinners use household income as an imperfect signal of opportunity cost or to detect unobserved effort, i.e., moral hazard, in generating income. As for (b), we surmise that it indicates the presence of incentive-compatible mechanisms against moral hazard. On giving norms, we find that, in samples that include overseas workers who are secondary breadwinners, remittance amounts are afflicted with negative selectivity. We present evidence that this is consistent with Filipino giving practices in which everyone gives but in modest amounts.

Suggested Citation

  • Alba, Michael M. & Sugui, Jessaine Soraya C., 2009. "Motives and Giving Norms behind Remittances: the Case of Filipino Overseas Workers and their Recipient Households," Discussion Papers DP 2009-26, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:phd:dpaper:dp_2009-26
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon G├Ąchter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
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    4. de la Briere, Benedicte & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & de Janvry, Alain & Lambert, Sylvie, 2002. "The roles of destination, gender, and household composition in explaining remittances: an analysis for the Dominican Sierra," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 309-328, August.
    5. Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
    6. 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.
    7. HwaJung Choi, 2007. "Are Remittances Insurance? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in the Philippines," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 219-248, May.
    8. 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.
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    Keywords

    remittances; remittance motives; giving norms;

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