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In the shadow of international remittances : domestic remittances in the rural Dominican Republic

Weitz, L.A.L. (2012) In the shadow of international remittances : domestic remittances in the rural Dominican Republic.

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Abstract:International migration in an ever more globalizing world has doubled over the past 50 years to about 215 million international migrants worldwide (World Bank, 2012, p. 2). The increasing migratory dynamics equally entailed an amplification of transfers of remittances, despite the current financial crisis (Mohapatra, Ratha, & Silwal, 2011, p. 3). Until 2014 the World Bank anticipates an incessant increase in international remittances to about 467 billion US Dollars (World Bank, 2012, p. 3). The macroeconomic impact of remittances, comprising up to 10 % of the Gross Domestic Product in many developing countries, is considerable (ibid). Recorded remittances in 2009 were almost three times the total amount of official development assistance (ODA) and almost as large as foreign direct investment (FDI) flows (ibid). Considering these facts it is not surprising that the debates among development scholars and economists primarily revolve around international migration, international remittances and their impact on the economies in the countries of the South. But there is another phenomenon linked to migration playing an important role especially on the household level of the poorest in developing countries, which hardly receives any academic attention: Domestic remittances. In the heavily impoverished rural areas of the political south, international migration can simply not be afforded by the majority of households. As a consequence they are also excluded from possible benefits through international remittances. However, many rural households benefit from intra-national1 migration and domestic remittances. The blatant contrast between the lack of labour opportunities in these rural areas and the urban areas engender a massive rural-out migration to the urban centres in many developing countries. The rural regions, with economies based on volatile agricultural production, lag behind the comparatively richer urban areas that undergo significant changes with economies increasingly based on commerce, service and construction and attract workforce from rural regions. Hence, as in the case of international migration, many of these “national migrants” remit money and goods back home to their relatives left behind.2 Even though significantly lower than international remittances in absolute terms, domestic remittances3 do in fact play a crucial role for the rural households as this paper argues. My field study in the rural Dominican Republic has been conducted around this little investigated field of remittances, aiming at highlighting the relevance of domestic 3 remittances as compared to international remittances for rural regions in developing countries. The ensuing case study is especially interesting since the Dominican Republic is among the developing countries yielding the highest emigration rate and receiving the largest sums of international remittances in relation with its gross domestic product (GDP) in the world (IMF, 2005, p. 4) which could imply a universal importance of international remittances across the country. At the same time rural-out migration has been drastically increasing in recent years (ONE, 2009, p. 2). I will shed light upon internal migration and domestic remittances as a small scale alternative to international migration for a vast majority of rural households seeking to improve their socio-economic situation. The present paper is based on empirical data, gathered within the framework of a study commissioned by the German Development Cooperation GIZ GmbH, carried out in the municipality of Pedro Santana in the Dominican Republic. In particular, hypotheses revolving around the following research questions shall be tested based on empirical data; both quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration BSc (56627)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/62680
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