October 2013

IZA DP No. 7666: Money for Nothing? Ukrainian Immigrants in Poland and their Remitting Behaviors

Analysis of remittances lies in the very centre of the scientific debate on developmental impacts of migration. On the macro level money sent back home may serve as an important source of capital (as compared to the value of export, Development Assistance or Foreign Direct Investment) but also cause inflationary pressure or disincentives for domestic savings. On the micro level remittances may constitute the major source of income and become a means towards consumption smoothing (migration as survival strategy). Notwithstanding, the very nature of remittances and underlying factors are still under theoretical and empirical discussion. The aim of the article is to assess patterns of remittances sent by Ukrainian migrants staying in Poland, to identify the main motives to remit and thus to understand mechanisms governing this process. The article hypothesizes that remitting depends strongly on the structure of migration (including socio-demographic factors responsible for particular motives to remit) and the type of mobility. Particularly, temporary migrants are expected to remit more likely. Econometric analysis based on an unique survey on migration and remittances completed in 2012 shows that in case of temporary migrants whose life centers are still located in sending communities remittances easily become an important part of contractual intra-family arrangements (with altruistic and exchange motives playing also a role). This outcome is important from the policy perspective because it helps to utilize developmental impacts of longstanding temporary migration strategies.