Remittances as social exchange: The critical, changing role of family as the social network

James W. Gentry, Robert A. Mittelstaedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Remittances from immigrants in developed countries to their families back home constitute economic flows nearly comparable to the levels of foreign direct investment and greater than those of international aid. Even those who immigrate due to political strife (refugees) are likely to leave loved ones behind and to send money home, if it is feasible. This article looks at remittances as only one type of social exchange within the relevant social network (the family). A categorization of immigrants is presented (expatriates, sojourners, and pathfinders) based on their motives for emigrating and used, subsequently, to explain their relative propensities to remit. The article ends by discussing the implications that the changing nature of the family institution globally may have for the flow of remittances in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Macromarketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2010



  • Corporate family
  • Expatriates
  • Immigration
  • Pathfinders
  • Remittances
  • Sojourners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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