September 22, 2016 – Three PEP researchers, Kamalbek Karymshakov, Marko Vladisavljevic, and Blagica Petreski, participated in an Economic Development Forum organized by Finance Think, a Macedonian think tank.
The forum was organized to discuss the importance of remittances from migrants for social development in western Balkan countries.
The PEP researchers are from different countries and worked on different projects, meeting through the PEP network.
During their PEP projects, Karymshakov and Petreski investigated the impact of remittances in Kyrgyzstan and Macedonia, respectively.
The team in Kyrgyzstan found that remittances from a family member working abroad increase the likelihood that a young person becomes a “family contributing worker”, meaning that young people who have difficulty finding a job are more inclined to contribute to the household through domestic chores or agricultural work. While remittances were not found to promote unemployment nor generate dependency amongst the left-behind youth, they do tend to be used for general household expenditures rather than to fund entrepreneurial activities.
Meanwhile, the team in Macedonia found that remittances serve as form a social protection but that this needs to be formalized. The team recommends a Remittance Voucher system that would formalize remittances as a social protection mechanism that would improve health and alleviate poverty, particularly amongst the most vulnerable sections of the population.