Community organization, migration, and remittances in Oaxaca

Leah K. VanWey, Catherine M. Tucker, Eileen Diaz McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Researchers studying migration and development have argued over the potential that migration and associated remittances haze to improve the economic and social conditions in origin communities. Past research on migration from indigenous communities in Oaxaca has similarly questioned the compatibility of traditional governance systems with high migration rates. We argue, using evidence from four Zapotec communities in rural Oaxaca, that communities can use the organizational capacity of traditional governance systems to access remittances from migrants for the benefit of the community as a whole. Communities can require payment from migrants in lieu of communal labor requirements (tequio) and may directly solicit remittances from migrants for community projects. The extent to which they enforce these requests depends on the existing organizational strength in the community. These findings imply that strong forms of community organization can make the difference between migration contributing to underdevelopment and migration contributing to development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-107
Number of pages25
JournalLatin American Research Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Development
  • Anthropology
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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