Gifts Without Borders: Intergenerational Glue Connecting over Distance and Time as Pure International Development in the Age of Migration

Intergenerational Responsibility in the 21st Century, Vernon Press, 2018, pp. 143-174.

43 Pages Posted: 3 May 2016  

Julia M. Puaschunder

Harvard University; The New School for Social Research; Columbia University; Princeton University

Date Written: May 1, 2016


Globalization led to unprecedented mobility, of which migrants take advantage when seeking opportunities for a better life in a different country. In the current migration, the worldwide diaspora and electronic monetary transfer opportunities have opened an innovative gate for migrants to securely transferring money back home to left family members. As migrants are primarily younger generations, intergenerational responsibility may play a crucial role in remembering those very young and old left behind in familial monetary gifts. In the currently European Union (EU) legal and institutional asylum framework crafting, ethical questions arise, whether refugees should be granted asylum as taking these most productive parts of the population away from fragile economies may hinder the territories they left from re-development due to unfavorable brain and manpower drain. Theoretically the paper portrays the influx of refugees and granting asylum as a means of pure international development as migrants send remittances to those left behind. Innovatively, intergenerational ties that let migrating populations transfer financial assets back to their left former homelands are unraveled as drivers of remittances. The intergenerational glue underlying remittances is portrayed as a way to develop postconflict societies free of technocratic, bureaucratic and institutional downfalls. Empirically, EU Eurostat data outlines that the current refugees represent the most productive parts of populations, hence young men. Based on World Bank datasets capturing almost all countries of the world, the paper then makes the case of migration being positively related to remittances. Populations on the move tend to come from territories that receive relatively high remittance inflows. The paper unprecedentedly outlines that private sector intergenerational glue comprised of social responsibility and future orientation are drivers of remittances based on world wide data. In the specific case of migration populations, public sector future orientation and social responsibility in the territories migrants left crowds out remittances. The intergenerational glue of a migrating population can therefore be seen as a pure form of international development, which aids especially when countries lack public sector social responsibility and future orientation. In order to analyze the re-test-reliability of the gained results, a Bayesian statistical approach was targeted at making assumptions about the robustness of the findings, which turns out to be relatively good. Rather than priming asylum as taking away manpower from fragile populations, granting asylum to refugees is portrayed as means to develop territories of unrest, in which young may not find as stable working conditions as abroad, through monetary transfers. The paper concludes with prospective future research avenues in order to open ways how to more stringently portray human capital mobility, refugee asylum and the intergenerational glue as important components of sustainable international development.

Keywords: Asylum, Future orientation, Globalization, Intergenerational glue, Intergenerational responsibility, International development, Labor market, Mobility, Nachzugsrecht, Refugees, Remittances, Social responsibility

Suggested Citation

Puaschunder, Julia M., Gifts Without Borders: Intergenerational Glue Connecting over Distance and Time as Pure International Development in the Age of Migration (May 1, 2016). Intergenerational Responsibility in the 21st Century, Vernon Press, 2018, pp. 143-174.. Available at SSRN: or

Julia M. Puaschunder (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

24 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

The New School for Social Research ( email )

6 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

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