The Development of Home Town Associations in the United States and the Use of Social Remittances in Mexico

Alarcon, Rafael


This paper examines the development of Mexican Hometown Associations (HTA) in the United States and the use of their social remittances in Mexico. Money remittances sent by individuals, households, and HTAs may serve as an indirect engine of regional economic development and also function as a substitute for the lack of government welfare in Mexico. The paper discusses the factors that led to the formation of HTAs as well as the uses of the collective remittances in Mexico by HTAs including the funding of public infrastructure, the financing of education and health infrastructure and social goods such as churches or buildings. However, expenditures on projects that have the potential to create sustainable employment appear to be less prevalent. Finally, the paper concludes with the suggestion that greater government involvement in welfare would free up some remittance funds for investment with productive implications and that governments and NGOs can play an important role in fostering the expenditure of collective remittances on employment creation ventures.

This paper appears in Sending Money Home: Hispanic Remittances and Community Development, edited by R. O. de la Garza and B. L. Lowell. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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