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Soziologisches Institut

Publication: Patterns of remittances of intra-European migrants: social relations and moral obligations

Remittances: People from Portugal tend to send smaller amounts more often, while people from the UK are more likely to send larger amounts but do so less frequently.

A study by the Department of Sociology shows how often European migrants in Switzerland transfer money to their home countries, and how much money is sent. 

The study authors are: Prof. Dr. Jörg Rössel (UZH), Dr. Patrick Schenk, Msc Ilona Pap

Published by on November 7, 2023, in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.


The importance of remittances for economic development and the maintenance of transnational social relationships have been widely discussed. Based on data from Switzerland, we analyze the roles of transnational social relations and moral obligations for the likelihood of sending remittances among intra-European migrants from Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Our data shows high levels of remitting among these groups, with migrants from South-East European countries sending remittances primarily to family and friends and migrants from Portugal and Great Britain sending remittances primarily to their own bank account. Furthermore, by using differentiated and direct measures for social relations and moral obligations, we show that strong social ties as well as moral family obligations are relevant predictors of sending remittances, beyond measures of various desires and capacities to remit usually discussed in the literature. However, these effects also vary according to social relation and remittance type. Together, the results make a strong case for the social embeddedness of remittances and the importance of including migrants from western and southern Europe in empirical research.

Read the full article here (open access):

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