More than Altruism: Cultural Norms and Remittances Among Hispanics in the USA
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Cultural norms embody the communalism and familism that characterize social structures and traditions of care among certain identity groups, notably, Hispanics. In turn, they affect remitting behavior as they do family dynamics thereby extending care transnationally. Using the 2006 Latino National Survey, the largest instrument that captures socioeconomic variables and political perspectives among Hispanics residing in the USA, we constructed a Hispanic identity index that is used to capture the role of cultural norms in remittance behavior. This index is used as an explanatory variable in a logit model for the probability and frequency of remitting money. We find that both the probability and frequency of remitting increase with higher levels of self-defined familism as reflected by the Hispanic index. This effect is stronger among males, renters, foreign-born non-US citizens, and migrants with fewer years of residence in the USA. Incorporating variables such as our Hispanic identity index may shed light on a relatively unexplored area in the field of economics that explains remitting behavior.
KeywordsMigration Remittances Familism Latino studies Interdisciplinary studies
We thank Prof. Evelyn Hu-Dehart (Brown University) and Prof. Ron Flores (Connecticut College) who provided us with access to the LNS 2006 survey. We also thank travel and research grants from Connecticut College that allowed us to present earlier versions of this paper at conferences that, in turn, provided opportunities to receive useful feedback. Finally, we thank comments and suggestions from two anonymous reviewers.
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