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Social relations and remittances: Evidence from Canadian micro data


  • Vadean, Florin P.
  • DeVoretz, Don J.


This paper models transfers outside the household for both the Canadian- born and foreign-born Canadian populations in a traditional expenditure framework with an unique composition of goods to illustrate the special motivations to remit by immigrants. We theorise that remittances to persons outside the households represent transfers to maintain social relations with relatives and friends and religious/charitable remittances are expenditures which foster group membership. Using Canadian survey data we estimate transfer functions as part of a larger expenditure system and calculate Engel elasticities for remittances to persons and to charities by both the Canadian and foreign-born populations. We conclude that expenditures to enhance social relations with relatives and friends (i.e. remittances to persons) are a normal good for recent Asian immigrants and a luxury good for all other immigrants and Canadians. Moreover, Asian households are the only ones that remit significantly more of their total expenditures to persons upon arrival, compared to the Canadian reference group, and their remittance behaviour does not converse to that of Canadian-born over time. This latter fact indicates strong cultural differences within the remitting households, most probably due to the fact that Asian households have stronger social ties to their extended family. Finally, with the exception of lower income North American and European immigrant households, all other immigrant groups and Canadians generally consider group membership contributions (i.e. charitable remittances) as a greater necessity than inter-household transfers.

Suggested Citation

  • Vadean, Florin P. & DeVoretz, Don J., 2007. "Social relations and remittances: Evidence from Canadian micro data," HWWI Research Papers 3-6, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:hwwirp:3-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Stark, Oded & Lucas, Robert E B, 1988. "Migration, Remittances, and the Family," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 465-481, April.
    3. Thomas Bauer & Mathias Sinning, 2011. "The savings behavior of temporary and permanent migrants in Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 421-449, April.
    4. Cox, Donald & Rank, Mark R, 1992. "Inter-vivos Transfers and Intergenerational Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 305-314, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 151-182, July.
    7. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-546, June.
    8. 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.
    9. Shamsuddin, Abul F M & DeVoretz, Don J, 1998. "Wealth Accumulation of Canadian and Foreign-Born Households in Canada," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(4), pages 515-533, December.
    10. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-326, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tolciu, Andreia & Schaland, Ann-Julia & El-Cherkeh, Tanja, 2010. "Migrant entrepreneurship in Hamburg: Results from a qualitative study with Turkish entrepreneurs," HWWI Research Papers 3-22, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    2. Vadean, Florin P., 2007. "Skills and remittances: The case of Afghan, Egyptian, and Serbian immigrants in Germany," HWWI Research Papers 3-9, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    3. Richard P.C. Brown & Gareth Leeves & Prabha Prayaga, 2014. "Sharing Norm Pressures and Community Remittances: Evidence from a Natural Disaster in the Pacific Islands," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(3), pages 383-398, March.

    More about this item


    international migration; household behaviour; remittances;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances


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