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Remittances, which surpass half a trillion dollars globally, can dramatically shape recipient economies. India alone received almost $100 billion in remittances in 2022, and the state of Kerala in particular has undergone major shifts as a result of these financial flows. 

In a 2020 article, Muskan Mustaqeem examines the impact of remittances on gender relations and women’s economic roles in Kerala. 

From the text:

“One of the findings of the study is that the traditional social status of women and gender relations between wife and husband seem to change due to their husband’s migration to the Gulf countries as they are somehow able to negotiate their social role in the patriarchal society. The increased social status of women and seemingly changed wife-husband relations exhibited through their decision-making power in the household, financial independence to some extent in terms of where and how expanding money, and increased mobility in the female head of household, could unfold the female’s agency on a whole. These left-behind wives enjoy autonomy, better access, and control over resources on one hand, and on the other, they are becoming more self-reliant and self-confident. This change has given them a sense of self-dependence and financial independence that they are able to manage their lives, children, and home.”

+  “Early ‘90s remittances to the Kerala economy assumed a significant share of state income. This ranged from 17% during 1991-92 and 24% during 1997-98.” By KS Hari and KP Kannan. Link. And KC Zachariah and S. Iduraya Rajan compare the earnings of male and female migrants from Kerala. Link.

+  “Any government would be perfectly justified in attempting to direct as large a portion as possible of the savings out of remittances into what are considered as priority investments from the national point of view.” A 1983 paper by IS Gulati and Ashoka Mody estimates early remittance flows to Kerala. Link

+  “Worker remittances undermine the capacity of autocratic regimes to mobilize electoral support through the delivery of goods and services to voters.” Abel Escribà-Folch, Covadonga Meseguer, and Joseph Wright on the political effects of remittances in the global South. Link.


Land-related Reforms 

ROSINE TCHATCHOUA DJOMO is a PhD student at the African Studies Centre in Leiden University. In a 2018 paper, she examines the ambiguous effects of land reform in Burundi.

From the abstract

“Reforms in land governance are assumed to significantly enhance the security of tenure in conflict-affected countries, through stimulating the resolution of land disputes, contributing to better control of property rights and reorganising the institutional framework for land management. Yet, this paper highlights the ambiguous outcomes of such reforms in situation of institutional multiplicity. Fieldwork in Ngozi province in northern Burundi points out how land-related reforms such as decentralising the administrative authority at the communal and hill levels and policy reforms in the formalisation of property rights have positive impacts in terms of dealing with specific land disputes and fostering local feelings of tenure security in the aftermath of the 2000 Arusha Peace Agreement. However, land governance reforms have also fuelled the proliferation of land governing institutions and fostered confusion among state and non-state authorities about which rules to apply and their roles in mitigating tensions over landownership and enforcing property rights. Actually, while introducing new laws, policies, institutions and practices, land governance reforms have produced mixed effects in securing local tenure for most community members and increased contestations against the authority of government representatives at the local level.”

+ + +

+  “National strategy on nickel smelting has led to a boom for industry, but it has also incurred important economic, political, and social costs.” New on PW, Alvin Camba on Indonesia’s export ban on nickel. Link

+  “Fiscal rules reduce the space for the working class, whenever in power, to influence fiscal policy decisions and pursue redistribution.” Also new on PW, Clara Zanon Brenck and Pedro Romero Marques on three decades of rule-based fiscal policy in Brazil. Link

 This coming Wednesday, October 11, at 10am ET, join us for “Rules of Restraint,” an event with our friends at Made and Dezernat Zukunft, on fiscal rules in Brazil and Germany. Link to register.

+  Daniela Gabor and Benjamin Braun on emerging “green macrofinancial regimes.” Link.

+  “Ultimately, only the weight of federal legislation can end the subminimum wage for tipped workers once and for all and send a clear message to ascendant industries like Uber and Doordash.” By Inayat Sabhikhi Link.

+  Han Qiu, Hyun Song Shin, and Leanne Si Ying Zhang map “the realignment of global value chains.” Link.

+  “We argue that periods of high inflation are always periods of significant redistribution of income.” By Rafael Wildauer, Karsten Kohler, Adam Aboobaker, and Alexander Guschanski. Link.

+  William D. Hartung on retired generals and admirals employed in the arms industry. Link.

+  “The automobile industry provides us with an egregious example of the difference between “estimated fair value” (EFV) and “actual realized gains” (ARG) measures of pay.” By Matt Hopkins and William Lazonick. Link.

+  Christine Chaumeau on inequality and climate change in Phnom Penh. Link.

+  “During the waning years of the Sierrea Leone civil war, there was a boom in local music production—initiated in 1999 when Jimmy Bangura, popularly known as Jimmy B, returned to Sierra Leone after a life spent travelling and making music in the US, England, and South Africa. By bringing in technical skills and encouraging youth to rap in local languages to beats that encompassed a mix of dance styles from around the Black Atlantic, he singlehandedly birthed Sierra Leone’s postwar youth music revolution. Jimmy B’s efforts were supported by various NGOs that were keen to engage former combatants in the demobilisation and reintegration process. The influx of foreign workers and money greatly affected the political economy of Sierra Leone. The local night life industry was boosted; new nightclubs mushroomed and foreign entities provided opportunities for the social advancement of youth.” By Boima Tucker. Link

Each week we highlight research from a graduate student, postdoc, or early-career professor. Send us recommendations:

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