Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Chair

Dr. Robert Pauly

Committee Chair Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 2

Dr. David Butler

Committee Member 2 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 3

Dr. Joseph St. Marie

Committee Member 3 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 4

Dr. Tom Lansford

Committee Member 4 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

A Small Island Development States (SIDS) viewpoint is underrepresented in the existing migration literature. That perspective is necessary because SIDS geography creates a unique set of social and economic circumstances that predisposes small states to high vulnerability to external shocks from environmental events and influences emigration decision making. Like other SIDS, Grenada is characterized by small land mass, small population, limited opportunities for productive labor, and limited resources to efficiently support all the requirements of modern institutions. This has resulted in high levels of emigration and a pattern of circularity as Grenadian households make rational decisions to manage risk and foster economic development. These emigrants view the extended work field as a space with opportunities for building skill and wealth, and gaining an education and diverse, cosmopolitan experiences. Family members working abroad, and those who remain at home become a transnational household. Expanding beyond conventional push/pull migration analysis, this dissertation posits a SIDS perspective from a triangulation of The New Economics of Labor Migration and theories that addressed circulation and cumulative causation. Through surveys, interviews and document review, a study of a random sample of 118 households found that remittances increased in response to threats, as households deliberately positioned themselves to have "someone on the outside," as a risk management strategy. The Study found that circulation enabled households to build wealth and sustainable livelihoods and to adequately care for the elderly and children. When this arrangement failed, families suffered and stagnated as social protection systems were unable to fill the gap.

ORCID ID

0000-0003-1063-3234