The following PhD dissertation is a quantitative study of individual as well as household decision-making in three linked processes: international labour migration, remittances and remittances-based spending. Three sets of questions are posed in three separate chapters. First, in regards to migration: why do some individuals intend to migrate whereas others do not; and does the intention to migrate affect actual migration behaviour? Second, in regards to remitting: which migrants are more likely to remit; and which migrants remit more? Third, in regards to spending: is it migrants themselves who decide how their remittances are spent; and to what extent do remittances offset the monetary cost of hosting festivities regarded as “customs and traditions”? In search of answers, the dissertation resorts to a statistical analysis of national household survey data from the Kyrgyz Republic. The choice of the methodology is based to the availability of a robust dataset that is suitable for empirical methods, and to the fact that the country is highly dependent on migration and remittances.
Several key empirical findings emerge from the analyses. First, the intention to migrate is correlated with travel experience, ethnicity, access to a family network abroad and regional unemployment; also, an intention does have a strong positive impact on actual migration behaviour. Second, the incidence of remitting is increased consistently in the case of men and older migrants, whereas the amount of remittances per remitter is higher when sent by household heads or highly educated migrants, especially to urban or post-shock households. Third, remitters often do not decide how their remittances are used, and remittances-receiving households spend on average more on some types of festivities, but not on all; despite the high average expenditures on festivities, gifts received by households substantially offset the total cost, thus reducing the financial burden of hosting such events. Policy-relevant implications of the findings as well as suggestions for further research are discussed.