Remittance debate revisited: new evidence from Indian migrant workers in Lebanon

Seema Gaur, Government of India

Uses of remittances and their impact on development have been a focal point of ongoing debate concerning costs and benefits of international migration. Many researchers argue that the bulk is spent on consumption with little being used on productive investment. Present study attempts to contribute to this debate by analyzing the information collected during 1998 from 402 Indian migrant laborers in Lebanon. Results show little evidence of remittances being frittered away on wasteful consumption. Remittances use pattern is found dependent upon socio-economic background of the migrants, mode of financing emigration and duration of their stay in host country. The authors argue that repayment of debt and furthering migration of family member(s) should be considered as investment in the generation of present and future family income. The study strengthens the view that pessimistic view regarding remittance uses cannot be applied across the board but need to be viewed in specific context.

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Presented in Poster Session 5