TITLE OF THE PROJECT
To consume or to self-employ? Evidence from remittances' use in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, with emphasis on crisis, gender and ethnicity role
The project is supported by the Regional Research Promotion Program (RRPP), coordinated and operated by the Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern Europe (IICEE) at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). RRPP aims at fostering and promoting social science research in the Western Balkans and is fully funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
The project will be jointly implemented with the Center for economic development and research (CEDAR), the partner from Bosnia and Herzegovina, GfK - Macedonia and two independent researchers from Kosovo, and will be financially supported for duration of 12 months (July 2012- June 2013).
The project hosted a round table on March 13, 2013, on the topic "The developmental outcomes of remittances in Macedonia", which presented the preliminary findings (ppt) and hosted panelists from the Government of the Republic od Macedonia, the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, the World Bank and the Research Center Analytica. Please see the Agenda and the excerpt of the preliminary findings (policy paper, in MK).
The events sparked a widespread media interest. Herewith you may approach the journalists viewpoints of the event.
MTV - Alsat M - Sitel - Alfa - Telma - 24 Vesti - Kapital - Ekonomija i Biznis - Dnevnik - Utrinski - Vest - Nova Makedonija 1 2 - Vecer - Koha - Plusinfo - Faktor - Lokalno.mk - Komunikacija.mk
Our researchers on the project Marjan Petreski and Branimir Jovanovic were also invited to take part in the "Economic magazine" TV Show on the bi-national (MK-AL) TV station Alsat-M, which is of tremendous interest as it shed light on the ethnical dimension of remittances in Macedonia, which was one of the highlights of the research.
The objective of the current proposal is to investigate remittances’ impact on social disparities during the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia. Remittances flows behaved differently during the crisis in the three countries – they stagnated in Kosovo, dropped sharply in Bosnia and Herzegovina and continued to increase in Macedonia, which makes the issue particularly attractive.
The following two pillars will be investigated: 1) remittances as a source for reducing social disparities, poverty and income inequality. According to Jones (1998a), remittances are safety net for relatively poor areas: this aid flows directly to the people who really need it, does not require a costly bureaucracy on the sending side and “far less of it is likely to be siphoned off into the pockets of corrupt government officials” (Kapur 2003, p. 10); 2) remittances as a source for supporting the entrepreneurial spirit (Braga, 2008). In lack of venture capital, remittances might be seen as a stable financing vehicle for supporting the entrepreneurial spirit and for reducing the high rates of unemployment, especially in the rural areas.
The research will analyse these issues in three comparative contexts: 1) Before versus during the ongoing crisis; 2) Male- or female-headed households recipients; 3) Recipients of different ethnic communities living within the same country. These three aspects sketch the current economic, social and political reality in which people in the Balkans currently live. The distinction between male- and female-headed households is common in the literature (see, for instance, Duflo, 2003, and Malone, 2007) and arises from the fact that women are usually considered to be more accountable. The distinction between different ethnic communities is hard to justify economically, and these findings could actually stress the similarities between the ethnic communities, in times when many stress the differences.
The research is related to the RRPP framework because remittances are an important social issue in these countries. Given that, one needs to know them better, in order to assess their consequences for the economic development in crisis time in multi-ethnic societies, and then to give relevant recommendations to the policymakers.
The findings of the research would be promoted by: i) debates in public media and round tables, making sure that they will get to the relevant policy makers; ii) organizing one regional thematic conference where results will be promoted; iii) attending at least one reputable international conference; and iv) publication in international journal.