Giving from the Heart or from the Ego? Motives behind Remittances of the Second Generation in Europe


  • We would like to express our sincerest thanks to the two anonymous reviewers for their highly constructive comments and suggestions, which have significantly improved the article from its earlier version. Our special thanks also go to Andrea Presbitero for providing comments and support both on the earlier draft of the article and during the final revision process.


The aim of this article is to investigate the remittance behavior of host country-born children of migrants – the second generation – in various European cities. We address the following question: Are second-generation remitters driven more by altruism or by self-interest? Data from “The Integration of the European Second Generation” (TIES) survey are utilized and encompass individuals with at least one migrant parent from Morocco, Turkey, or former Yugoslavia. Using logistic models, we test different classical theories on microeconomic determinants of remittances and add some additional expectations for the second generation. The results show that those second-generation Moroccans, Turks, and former Yugoslavs who send money are motivated by two main reasons: Emotional attachment to their parents' home country (altruism motive) or to pay people who look after their investments or other material assets that are likely to be part of their preparation for “returning” (self-interest – exchange motive). These two motives are not necessarily exclusive: As part of a well-prepared return, to integrate easily once back “home,” it is not only relevant to ensure that people take care of one's investments and other material assets, but also to strengthen social ties and be well informed about the situation in the country of origin. This interpretation fits closely with the return model, which deserves more attention in the theoretical literature on remittances.