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Remittances for collective consumption and social status compensation: Variations on transnational practices among Chinese international migrants

Abstract

© 2016 by the Center for Migration Studies of New York. All rights reserved. This paper focuses on a special type of remittances — monetary remittances sent by international migrants to their hometowns to build symbolic structures and cultural facilities for collective consumption. We develop an analytical framework to examine the motives behind migrants’ remitting behavior and the mechanisms for realizing their remitting objectives based on a comparative study of two emigrant groups from China. We find that the sending of remittances for collective consumption serves as a unique mechanism for social status compensation. Such behavior is not only affected by migrants’ socioeconomic circumstances or government policies, but also by intersecting contextual and institutional factors at multiple levels transnationally.

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