A critical discussion of the motivations to remit in Albania and Moldova
CMR Working Papers, Nr 30(88)
Since the 1980s, the theoretical and empirical literature on the motivations to remit has grown steadily. We review the microeconomic literature and show that the theoretical motivations to remit are overlapping while competing. We argue that in most cases this differentiation is unnecessary and makes the subsequent empirical applications weak. We apply the theories in Albania and Moldova, two countries that experience high migration and remittance flows, using household survey data. We focus on finding evidence for the theoretical motivations to remit such as altruism, loan repayment, co-insurance and the bequest motive and using a similar
methodology and approach as previous empirical research. As for other empirical papers, the analysis leads to doubtful and multi-interpretable results. We argue that this problem is caused by weak operationalisation and inseparability of motives, compounded by data problems. Furthermore we argue that the decision to remit should not be looked at in isolation. It is apparent that the causes and patterns of migration in Albania and Moldova influence the remitting behaviour and most migrants migrate in order to remit. It is thus vital to link the decision to migrate with the decision to remit and to broaden the focus beyond the economic literature and
consequently provide a more relevant and clearer answer to the question why remittances are sent.