Date of Award

12-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Sociology

Major Professor

Stephanie A. Bohon

Committee Members

Asafa Jalata, Robert Emmet Jones, Anita Driver

Abstract

In recent years, the term globalization and the global economy have caught the attention of scholars and popular media. Many of the aspects of globalization serve to create push and pull factors that encourage labor migration about the globe as individuals seek to establish some form of economic stability. The sending of money back to country of origin or remittances is often a result of this movement. This study uses data from the New Immigrant Survey to examine the characteristics of United States immigrants who have received “green cards” (granted legal permanent resident status) and who engage in remittance behavior. The study also seeks to bridge a gap between macro- and micro-approaches to understanding the willingness of immigrants to remit as well as examining the dollar amounts returned to country of origin and the propensity to use in-kind remittances or the sending of goods to friends and family who remain in the immigrant’s country of origin.

In an effort to examine the global and local aspects of remittance sending, predictors were chosen from both Demography studies and Globalization theory. These predictors of remittance behavior were analyzed in separate models and in combination. The results suggest that a holistic approach to understanding remittance behavior rather than a discipline specific approach provide a better understanding of immigrants and the characteristics that promote remittance sending. The results also suggest that cash remittances and in-kind remittances represent two distinctly different approaches and means to providing for friends and family left behind. Cash remittances are seen as a method of economic survival and possible advancement in country of origin but in-kind remittances represent more of a gift-giving activity by immigrants with greater levels of expendable income.

Both migration and remittance decisions are complex decisions that involve numerous individuals with in the household of those encouraged to migrate. An expanded knowledge of this process will help scholars and policy makers develop useful and efficient programs in the future.

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