Journal of Social Sciences

Motivations for Remittances and Philanthropy – Lessons from a Qualitative Meta-Synthesis of Literature

Sabith Khan and Daisha M. Merritt

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2018.81.90

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 14, 2018

Pages 81-90


Why do people send remittances? Also, what are the motivations for diaspora philanthropy? While each of these questions have been addressed by scholars in different way – with the most influential theories suggesting that ‘identification’ is the key theme that explains each of these phenomenon, we contend that there is much more than purely ‘identification’ with the recipients that is at play. In this study, based on synthesis of various theories and some empirical studies, we propose a new ‘mid-range’ theory, that seeks to explain the motivations for giving – both remittances and philanthropy. We explain how the motivations in each can be similar and distinct and offer insights that aim to further the scholarship on philanthropy and remittances. We hope to contribute to the discussion on the motivations for remittances and philanthropy and how it plays out, in the context of international development. With the urgency in fund-raising efforts and the need to accurately identify mechanisms and tools that will address the urgent needs of millions of people around the world, scholars are also coming together with innovative approaches and models to help understand how and why people give money. In addition, there is also the factor of donor fatigue that one has to contend with.


© 2018 Sabith Khan and Daisha M. Merritt. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.