Subdesarrollo migratorio en Sri Lanka: crítica a las remesas como capital

Translated title of the contribution: Migration-underdevelopment in Sri Lanka: a critique of remittance capital

Matt Withers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Temporary labour migration from Sri Lanka to West Asia commenced in 1977 and has since become a dominant livelihood strategy for households and the largest source of export earnings for the economy. Dominant policy-level assumptions of a mutually-beneficial «triple win» between migrants and countries of origin and destination claim that temporary labour migration produces positive economic outcomes for all. Yet while labour-receiving economies clearly benefit from exploiting reserve armies of labour and care, the developmental implications of remittance capital for migrant households and sending economies have remained under-theorised. This paper advances a critique of remittance capital at household, national and global scales to demonstrate how temporary labour migration has left Sri Lanka a precariously uneven and remittance-dependent economy. Sri Lanka’s dilemma hinges on a central contradiction: uneven development has forced marginalised populations into foreign employment, only for their remittances to finance a model of development they themselves are excluded from.
Translated title of the contributionMigration-underdevelopment in Sri Lanka: a critique of remittance capital
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)71-95
Number of pages25
JournalMigración y Desarrollo
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • remittance capital
  • remittance economy
  • temporary labour migration
  • migration-development
  • Sri Lanka


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