I analyze the effects that social status and immigrant incorporation have on migrant remittances. Understanding remittances as one type of transnational practice, I conceptualize them as the fee that migrants pay to remain members of the transnational community. I define a “status hypothesis” in terms consistent with the view of transnational engagement as a response to status loss, predicting a negative association between increases in social status and remittances. Since immigrant incorporation usually entails status gain, this hypothesis is consistent with the conventional assimilation paradigm. While the status hypothesis could be linked to the new economics of labor migration as well, it collides with the view of transnationalism as an alternative path for successful immigrant incorporation. Using data on male Mexican migrants to the United States, I find enough support for the status hypothesis, indicating the need to clarify the ultimate meaning of transnational practices. In addition, my analysis shows that there is room to integrate economic theory, the assimilation paradigm, and the transnational perspective into a comprehensive understanding of transnational engagement.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 21, 2005
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