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Remittances from Sweden. an Exploration of Swedish Survey Data

By Lisa Pelling, Charlotta Hedberg and Bo Malmberg

Abstract

The present study explores data on transfers of gifts/economic support to relatives from a recent Swedish Household Income Survey (HEK) compiled by Statistics Sweden. It provides the first analysis of demographic determinants of remittances from Sweden based on official household survey and register data. By exploring a data set that also includes non-migrant households, it presents a unique comparison of patterns of gift-giving and intra-family support between migrant and non-migrant households. We argue that data from the Household Income Survey can be used to obtain an empirically based estimation of the determinants of remittances from Sweden. According to our results, the flows of remittances to developing countries from Sweden appear to be relatively small in comparison with remittance flows from other developed countries. The article analyses these transfers of gifts/economic support in relation to different kinds of income, education, age, time since migration, acquisition of citizenship and family situation. Analyses are made for three types of country groups : developing countries, non-developing countries and Sweden. Whereas the general propensity to give economic support to relatives is similar among native Swedes and migrants from developing and non-developing countries, the patterns of gift-giving and intra-family economic support differ significantly over the life course between individuals from different country groups. Native Swedes tend to give gifts and economic support to relatives at higher ages and when they have adult children who have moved away from home. Migrants from developing countries tend to be younger and have children living at home. The propensity of native Swedes to remit increases with increasing income. Among migrants born in developing countries, other factors than income seem to be more decisive for the propensity to remit. Diverging patterns of remittances between migrants from developing countries and the other groups indicate that remittances are strongly related to phases in the individual life course that vary with the individual migration history.Remittances; Intra-family transfers; Life course

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