Perspectives on Multidimensional Flows and Impacts of Remittances from Migration

Migration is a substantial source of flows of people, funds, and materials. In 2020, an estimated 281 million persons migrated internationally, up from 221 million in 2010 and 173 million in 2000 (UNDESA 2020). Many migrants send money to family and friends in the form of remittances. Global remittances totaled US$689 billion in 2019, of which 77% (US$529 billion) were remittances to lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (Ratha et al. 2020). These flows have substantial social, economic, and environmental impacts on both sending and receiving communities, particularly in countries that are significant sources of migrants and also major recipients of remittances. Migration and remittances can be a double-edge sword. On the one hand, migration and remittances can enable households to pursue alternative livelihood aspirations and can provide capital to sustain diversified livelihoods and/or reduce reliance on riskier pursuits. On the other side, migration can increase the vulnerability of family members left behind, particularly if anticipated remittances do not materialize. From an environmental perspective, studies are finding that migration and remittances impacts land ownership, use, and management, including in forested, agricultural, and pastoral landscapes. In some cases, these influences may be reducing human impact on natural systems (Ojha et al. 2017) In other cases, studies show remittances are associated with land degradation (Davis & Lopez-Carr 2014) and deforestation (Taylor et al. 2016; Angelsen et al. 2020).

Given the magnitude of migration and remittance flows and their significant, if uneven impacts, this special session is dedicated to understanding the multifaceted impacts of remittances and/or migration on communities sending migrants and receiving remittances. We welcome papers that offer new theoretical perspectives on migration and/or remittance dynamics and qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies examining the impacts of these flows. Studies of both international and internal migration and associated remittances will be considered.