Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilcox, Virginia

Second Advisor

Cheng, Ai-ru

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Economics


My dissertation focuses on three topics: motivations behind remittances, cyclicality of remittances, and the impacts of remittances on human capital and labor supply in developing countries.

In the first chapter, I introduce the three topics. In the second chapter, I examine the primary incentives of remitting. Using estimated bilateral data on remittances, this chapter demonstrates that a rise in the remittance-receiving countries' GNI per capita leads to fewer remittances and that a rise in the host remittance-sending countries' GNI per capita motivates migrants to remit more. Real exchange rates and real interest rates have no effect on remittances. These results indicate that altruism is an important and critical component of motivations behind remittances.

In the third chapter, I investigate cyclicality of remittances and the link between cyclicality of remittances with motivations behind remittances. By using estimated bilateral data on remittances, I study the cyclicality of remittances with respect to the host country (remittance-sending country) as well as with respect to the home country (remittance-receiving country) and I conclude that remittances are pro-cyclical with respect to remittance-sending countries and weakly pro-cyclical with respect to remittance-receiving countries.

My fourth chapter focuses on the impacts of remittances on human capital and labor supply by using data for 125 developing countries from 1990 to 2015. This topic is almost unexplored at the aggregate level, mainly due to the endogeneity of remittances and the difficulty in finding instruments to resolve this issue. To address the endogeneity of remittances, I estimate bilateral remittances and use them to create weighted average remittance-sending countries' indicators. Results obtained indicate that remittances improve health and education outcomes in remittance-receiving countries. Although there is no difference in the impact of remittances on the health outcome of boys and girls, remittances raise the educational investment in girls more than in boys. Further, remittances decrease the female labor force participation rate but do not affect the male labor force participation rate.


121 pages




Northern Illinois University

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