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Revisiting the Motivations behind Remittance Behavior: Evidence of Debt-Financed Migration from Afghanistan

Craig Loschmann, Melissa Siegel


In an insecure environment like Afghanistan it is believed that many families consider establishing household members at different geographic locations, frequently abroad, as a way to hedge against risks to a sustainable livelihood. With this in mind, this study examines whether such a migration strategy rests on remittance transfers as an alternative source of income, exploiting the way in which migration is financed as a discriminating factor. Our results show remittance transfers are lower for debt-financed migrants, and the influence of certain individual and household characteristics are in line with what we would expect if altruism is the dominating motivation. In light of this finding, we speculate that the sending of household members abroad as a risk-coping strategy may be less about having an alternative source of income and more about having an alternative location to escape to if the security situation happens to take a turn for the worse.   


migration; remittance behavior; debt; risk-coping; Afghanistan

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