Understanding the Consequences of Migration for Asset Accumulation: A Multi-Site and Intergenerational Perspective

Sebnem Eroglu-Hawksworth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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This article is the first to explore the consequences of migration for asset accumulation from a multi-site and intergenerational perspective that moves beyond the prevailing migrant versus ‘native’ comparisons performed within single destination-country contexts. It specifically investigates the non-financial investments (i.e., house, land, and business-related asset holdings) made in the country of residence by three family generations of migrants with origins in Turkey: those who resided in Europe (i.e., settlers), those who moved to Turkey
(i.e., returnees), and those who remained in the origin country (i.e., stayers). The data are drawn from the 2000 Families Survey, which involved personal interviews with 5980 individuals nested within 1770 families. The analysis shows that migration’s greatest economic beneficiaries are returnees, who display a significant tendency to accumulate the
most assets across all generations and asset types. Across all three groups, intergenerational
family transfers are found to make a positive difference to younger generations’ non-financial investments. The chances of reaping the benefits of such transfers, however, is shown to be particularly limited for the descendants of settlers, given this group’s propensity to accumulate the fewest (especially house and land type) non-financial assets in European destinations where they reside. Through these unique multi-site and intergenerational comparisons between migrants and stayers, this article sheds new light upon the little explored relationship between international migration and asset accumulation and the economic dis/benefits of migration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-811
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number3
Early online date29 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the NORFACE, New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Co-operation in Europe, under the grant number 235548.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice
  • Left-behind populations
  • Migrant Investments
  • return migration
  • Turkish diaspora in Europe
  • Intergenerational transfers


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