REMITTANCES AND CORRUPTION IN MIGRANTS’ COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN Corruption Experience of Remittance Recipients in Latin America and the Caribbean

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: This thesis aims to explore whether and how (monetary) remittance affects petty corruption in migrants’ countries of origin. Specifically, it investigates whether remittance recipients are more likely to pay bribes than non-recipients. Two arguments are put forward. On one hand, monetary remittance facilitates the circulation of positive social remittance from migrants working/residing in less corrupt countries to their families back home, which makes the latter less likely to think that paying a bribe is justifiable, hence lower actual bribe payment. On the other hand, compared to those not receiving remittance, recipients are exposed to a higher probability of being targeted for bribes and, therefore, more prone to pay bribes as the positive social remittances may not be robust enough to replace the particularistic culture of corrupt societies. The results from multilevel modeling of household survey data from 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2014 support the second argument. Although I failed to find consistent supporting evidence that those that receive remittances from abroad are also more likely to actually pay bribes, it does not necessarily mean a better state of affairs. Remittance recipients are more likely to find it justifiable to pay a bribe and be targeted for bribe solicitations by public officials than non-recipients. These grim findings may be explained by the combination of limited or weak transmission of positive social remittance and the persistence of the particularistic culture shaping the way a corrupt society functions. The policy implications from this study are essential in the context of numerous efforts to curb corruption and harness the positive gains from remittance in migrants’ countries of origin.

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