2019-2020 Global Development Studies Senior Thesis Projects

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Abby Foy '20

Project Title:  Remittances and Development: Local Empowerment and National Dependency.

Summary:  Remittances, or money that is sent by a migrant to their home country, have been increasingly viewed as a potential way to economically develop low to middle income countries. Presently, the level of remittances sent is higher than that of official developmental aid. Considering that remittances are private capital utilized by locals, the intervention of a non-profit or large international financial organization to spur developmental projects is perhaps not needed. The first part of this this thesis project provides an overview of remittances and why their ramifications are complex and controversial. The second and third parts utilize Morocco and Tajikistan as case studies for a deeper analysis of the implications of remittances on development. Morocco and Tajikistan were selected because they are both post-colonial countries that maintain a high dependence on remittances. Morocco is one of the world’s largest recipients of remittances and Tajikistan possesses one of the highest remittance-reliant GDPs in the world. Remittances are important to study because they illuminate how individual survival strategies can have detrimental implications for the nation. This paper argues that remittances provide some degree of individual empowerment but ultimately present problems of national dependency which hinder development. Morocco demonstrates that low to middle income countries must relinquish power over political, economic and social factors when remittances are encouraged. Tajikistan illustrates that remittances may be the most attainable solution for post- colonial countries, yet they provide longer-term problems that deeply entrench historical relations of dependency.