[Journal:] IZA Journal of Migration [ISSN:] 2193-9039 [Volume:] 3 [Year:] 2014 [Pages:] 1-43
Recent empirical evidence links migrant remittances, savings and return migration, and stresses the inaccuracy of return migration plans. This paper presents a model of endogenous remittances, savings and return decisions under uncertainty. In our framework, migrants make remittance and saving decisions at an early stage of migration, when their long term economic performance in the host country is still uncertain. Over time, information about professional prospects is acquired, and conditionally on past decisions, migrants adjust their return plans. We show that when migrants expect large gains from migration and face relatively low wage risks in the host country, they tend to remit less, save more and are less likely to return migrate. These results are in line with recent empirical evidence and provide a rationale for the support by relatives in the sending country of low-skill, illegal migration.