Migration, Remittances and Gender in the Context of Development: The Case of Thailand

Keiko Osaki, Fordham University


In developing countries, migration often generates flows of resources from migrants to their households of origin in the form of individual remittances. The main objective of this study was to deepen our understanding of the extent to which the remittances of internal migrants contribute to the well-being of their households of origin. Using data from the 1992 National Migration Survey (NMS) of Thailand, the study identified individual and household characteristics which affected migrants' remittance behaviour, and also how much migrant remittances affected the well-being of household left behind. As a secondary objective, the study also explored the role of gender in shaping the remittance behavior of migrants and its ultimate consequences for the households of origin. The analyses revealed that, in Thailand, a significant proportion of migrants retained contacts with their household of origin through remittances for a long time after they moved out. While making remittances to parents was a common behavior among migrant children, given Thai culture, some migrants left their homes specifically in order to provide economic support for the origin household. Indeed, the migrants who left to seek job elsewhere had a higher propensity to remit and to send larger remittances than those who migrated for other reasons. Women in Thailand not only actively participate in all types of migration streams, but also made significant contributions to their origin households by sending remittances. Given their low earnings, however, female migrants could not remit as much as male migrants did. The study also demonstrated that poor economic status of origin households is an important explanatory variable for the out-migration of its members and their remittance behavior. Thus, remittances made by out-migrants were crucial resources for many households to overcome capital constraints or to ensure their survival. However, no evidence was found that remittances were channeled to economically productive investment. Therefore, policy measures to provide households with income-generating opportunities and encourage the utilization of remittances for development were suggested.

Subject Area

Demography|Social structure|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Osaki, Keiko, "Migration, Remittances and Gender in the Context of Development: The Case of Thailand" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3022797.