Decoupling Parental Absences from Remittances in Economic Migration: The Case of Educational Attainment in Guatemalan Migrant-Sending Households
Noli Brazil, Yale University
One component in the debate over whether economic migration is ultimately beneficial to migrant-sending communities is its influence on the educational attainment of children. The picture is unclear because relevant research to date has either analyzed parental absences and remittances - the primary components of economic migration - in tandem or individually, without discussing the other. We address this deficiency by employing instrumental variables to decouple the endogeneity of parental absences from remittances on measures of educational attainment. Specifically, we analyze 2000 Guatemala Living Standards Measurement Study data to determine their influence on student attendance and dropout rates. Results indicate that parental absences are negatively related to student attendance, but the magnitude of their association is small. Remittances, in contrast, are correlated with a reduction in both student absences and dropout rates. Our results further indicate that minimal remittances are required to ameliorate the harmful influence of parental absences on student attendance.