REGIMES OF REMITTANCE DEPENDENCY: GLOBAL STRUCTURES AND TRAJECTORIES OF THE FORMER SOVIET “BLOC”
Keywords:migration, development, dependency, remittance, state socialism, transition
The re-integration of the societies of the erstwhile state socialist bloc into global flows of capitalism is emerging as a major issue in the sociology of labour migration. Changes in the magnitudes of migrant remittances can be of crucial social and political importance. In this study, I link a conceptual contribution with a three-step empirical inquiry. First, I conceptualize migrant remittances as a form of external economic dependency. Next, I describe recent changes in the strength of the empirical relationship between migrant remittances as percentages of the GDP and per capita GDP for all societies of the world utilizing data from two online data sets. Employing what Charles Tilly (1984) called “variation-finding comparison,” I examine, next, the – as it turns out, quite sizeable – residual variation in the relative magnitude of remittances that remains after controlling for per capita GDP, and interpret it as a marker for patterns of remittance dependency. Finally, I trace the recent trajectories of the societies that had, until one generation ago, constituted the Soviet “bloc” against the backdrop of the global distribution in remittance dependency.