Remittances as a Social Contract : An Interview Study on Remittance Behaviour among Swedish Immigrants
Sammanfattning: In what has been described as “the age of migration” by Castles et al. (2014) the international transfers of remittances is an ever-growing phenomenon, which has generated an increased interest among both scholars and policy-makers. According to the World Bank (2016), the flow of remittances to developing countries is today exceeding the amount of official development aid by three times. The objective of this study is to contribute to a more nuanced view of the motivations for remittances by conducting a qualitative interview study with remittance senders in Sweden. The study uses data obtained from 18 interviews in order to receive an in-depth understanding of remittance attitudes. An analytical framework departing from Lucas and Stark’s hypotheses on motives to remit (1985) combined with the conjugal contract model (Whitehead, 1984) is constructed and used for the analysis of the findings. The paper argues that the relationship between household members can be seen as a social contract, and the findings suggest a correlation between social norms and gender roles within the family. The results of the interviews indicate that social norms do influence remittance behaviour, and the determinants of time and expectations from the household are also proven relevant to the topic. The findings thus show that the concept of social contracts between family members can be usefully employed in order to extend our understanding of remittance behaviour. In conclusion, this study shows that viewing remittances as part of a social contract within households can provide a useful tool for further research on the topic.
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