International migrants' remittances and welfare status of the left-behind families in Turkey

Koc I., Onan I.

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION REVIEW, vol.38, no.1, pp.78-112, 2004 (SSCI) identifier identifier


In this study, micro implications of remittances are examined based on the data from the 1996 Turkish International Migration Survey (TIMS96), part of a comprehensive study of Eurostat and the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI). Results of the study imply that migrant savings are generally used for satisfying basic consumption needs. Patterns of expenditures suggest that for 12 percent of all the households receiving remittances, about 80 percent used remittances to improve their standard of living. Considering the variation by regions, it is observed that households in less-developed regions spent more on daily expenses than those in developed regions. This suggests that daily expenses of households in less developed regions depend significantly on remittances received by households. Moreover, remittances have a positive impact on household welfare; households receiving remittances are found to be better off than nonremitting households. This suggests that migration and remittances have positive indirect effects on incomes of emigrant households. A considerable part of the relevant literature argues that remittances are mostly spent on consumption, housing and land and are not used for productive investment that would contribute to long-run development. This conclusion often rests on arbitrary definitions of "productive investments." Access to better nutrition and allocation of more resources to education are, without question, forms of productive investment. Although emigration does not serve as a solution to the problems of national development, it is evident that remittances generate considerable welfare effects, at least for the remittance-receiving population.