Mobile Populations in Immobile Welfare Systems: A Typology of Institutions Providing Social Welfare and Protection Within a Mobility Framework.

Ester Serra Mingot*, Valentina Mazzucato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The economic benefits of migration for developing countries through remittance-sending practices have been extensively researched on the migration-development nexus. Remittances are used not only for productive investments, but also to ensure social protection for migrants and their families, locally and transnationally, through complex formal and informal provisions. This is necessary because migrant-sending countries often have limited formal social protection institutions, whereas formal institutions in receiving countries are based on sedentary models, excluding many migrants. By reviewing literature on social protection and migration from a transnational lens and providing examples mainly from a labour migration context from the global-south towards the global-north, we offer a comprehensive typology of institutions providing social protection to migrants and their families back home. The paper advances an emerging semi-formal social protection system, which combines informal elements migrants known from their origin countries, with private insurance schemes. This analysis contributes to re-thinking the development of an inclusive global social protection system for mobile populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-805
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Development Research
Issue number4
Early online date31 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

JEL classifications

  • f22 - International Migration
  • i31 - General Welfare


  • global social protection
  • formal social protection
  • informal social protection
  • semi-formal social protection
  • Transnationalism
  • migration
  • transnationalism

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