Remittances encourage investments in education

Existing research shows that an important reason for emigrating from Armenia is to earn enough to pay for children’s education (Makaryan and Galstyan, 2013). The IPPMD data confirm that households receiving remittances are spending a larger share of their budget on education than households without remittances (Figure 1.7). These expenses may include extra tutoring or education fees. The pattern is reverse for return migration, however. Households with return migrants spend less on education. Moreover, return migration and emigration seem to be negatively associated with school attendance, by girls in particular. In emigrant households, girls’ rates of school attendance (in the age group 15 to 22) are lower than in non-emigrant households. This suggests that even though remittances can stimulate more investments in education, migration may have disruptive effects on youth schooling, especially for girls.

Education policies and programmes that help with school expenses can therefore discourage emigration. The Government of Armenia has implemented multiple programmes to improve and strengthen the education sector in the past two decades. Most of the education programmes from which IPPMD surveyed households benefit are in-kind distribution programmes, such as free textbooks and school meals, which may have little impact on households’ budgets. Financial support programmes, such as scholarships, may have a greater influence on migration decisions, but these programmes are of fairly limited coverage in Armenia and the analysis finds they have little influence on people's decisions to emigrate.

Figure 1.7. Households receiving remittances spend a larger share of their budget

on education

Share of total budget spent on education (%), by migration status

Note: The sample only includes households with children in school age (aged 6-20 years). Source: Authors’ own work based on IPPMD data.

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