Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The impact of transnational activities of Colombian migrants living in the US on the sending country's socioeconomic development
Author: Santamaría Alvarez, Sandra Milena
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 0457
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This research aims to determine, analyse and understand the impact of transnational activities carried out by Colombian migrants living in the US on the socioeconomic development of the country of origin at the micro level of the household, the meso level of the community and the macro level of the nation. Additionally, the role the Colombian government has adopted towards its migrants and their transnationalism has also been examined in order to provide recommendations for future policy action to reduce the cost of migration and enhance its benefits for the country in general. The research recognises the importance of considering diverse levels of analysis (De Haas, 2012), and of including both agency and structure (De Haas, 2007a) when studying the link between migration and development. To accomplish this, New Economics of Labour Migration (NELM) and Transnationalism approaches have been used as a conceptual basis of the thesis. The thesis applies a qualitative methodology, namely multiple case studies, to gain a deep understanding of transnationalism and its impact. It discusses the transnational activities of Colombian migrants, including the reasons behind their engagement or the lack thereof and the impact those activities could have at the three levels of analysis proposed. The main data collection method used was focus groups with semi-structured open-ended questions with migrant families, and interviews with context-oriented actors, including three governmental officials and two experts on Colombian migration. Other sources of data included conference participation, review of previous studies, publicly available data and statistics, and governmental public information, among others. The research has adopted a multidisciplinary approach, employing concepts from international business, management, economics and sociology. The analysis of the data collected and its association with the literature has allowed to establish that Colombian migrants living in the US do engage in some transnational activities, especially those individually oriented. However, collective transnational activities such as political participation, and community remittances, have shown to have a low level of engagement. The personal characteristics of the migrant and the 3 structures in both the sending and receiving countries have influenced migrants’ willingness to get involved in transnational activities. The involvement at diverse levels and frequency in transnational activities creates various impacts at the household, community and national level. Those impacts seem to be mainly beneficial for households, while more diverse outcomes can be observed at the community and national levels. Therefore, migrants’ transnationalism by itself cannot be considered a tool that could reduce the North-South dependence in the case of Colombia; the impacts of those activities in the country of origin point towards both increasing and decreasing the development gap between both countries. Individual migrants conduct a number of international activities through which they exercise their agency, within the limitations imposed upon them by the structures of the place of origin and destination. At the same time, those structures are shaped by transnationalism and the impact migrants’ activities could generate. However, migrant activity impact on socioeconomic development will not reduce the development gap as long as the country of origin does not provide the right environment to support local development. The Colombian government, on the other hand, has made some efforts to include its migrants within national projects, and has recently aimed to include them not only as a political force but also as economic agents. Nonetheless, most of the strategies used are limited in scope, and therefore their impacts are limited too. To enhance the potential positive impact of transnationalism on the socioeconomic development of the community and the country a number of recommendations have been provided in this research, recognising that local development is not dependent on the migrant but on governments and their institutions. Finally, migration as a family strategy and transnational activities provide migrants’ families with livelihood improvements, as explained by the approaches of NELM and Transnationalism, while the community and the country are impacted in both positive and negative ways. The challenge for communities and governments is to design the right strategies to reduce the negative impacts migration and transnationalism can generate while enhancing their potential benefits. All those strategies must be developed taking into account migrant profile and the structure of the place of origin and destination.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Universidad EAFIT ; Colciencias
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available