2017-2018 Global Development Studies Senior Thesis Projects

Peter Atwill '18

Project Title: International Migrant Remittances: Social Costs in Southeast Asia.

Summary: Labor remittances are having a dramatic effect on the way Southeast Asian countries develop and how households configure themselves. International financial institutions have heralded them as a source of poverty alleviation, human capital growth, and upward mobility. While all this is true, remittances and quickly changing gender roles have caused health-drains and care-drains. The focus of this paper is the implications of transnational migration for communities, socially and economically. Southeast Asian governments have a difficult task both assisting remittance receivers in properly investing or consuming their money, while also ensuring the domestic work force can remain viable and a desired route for job seekers. Remittances provide a positive impact to communities, but there are a number of political, economic, and social tradeoffs. Due to its attractiveness, both at an individual level and at a state level, remittances are viewed wholly positively, when in fact they carry negative influences, especially considering that it is households, communities, and the migrant workers who bear these costs. Remittances have the most positive impact on communities when a parent’s care absence can be properly filled and when remittances in turn are in some way reinvested back into local community.