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What explains the cost of remittances ? an examination across 119 country corridors

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  • Beck, Thorsten
  • Peria, Maria Soledad Martinez

Abstract

Remittances are a sizeable source of external financing for developing countries. In the L’Aquila 2009 G8 Summit, leaders pledged to reduce the cost of remittances by half in 5 years (from 10 to 5 percent). Yet, empirically, little is known about what drives the cost of remittances. Using newly gathered data across 119 country corridors, this paper explores the factors that determine the cost of remittances. Considering average costs across all types of institutions, the authors find that corridors with larger numbers of migrants and more competition among remittances service providers exhibit lower costs. By contrast, remittance costs are higher in richer corridors and in corridors with greater bank participation in the remittances market. Comparing results across all banks and all money transfer operators separately, the analysis finds few significant differences. However, estimations for Western Union, a leading player in the remittances business, suggest that this firm’s prices are insensitive to competition.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5072.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5072

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Related research

Keywords: Population Policies; Remittances; Access to Finance; Debt Markets; Economic Theory&Research;

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References

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  1. Bikker, Jacob A. & Haaf, Katharina, 2002. "Competition, concentration and their relationship: An empirical analysis of the banking industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(11), pages 2191-2214, November.
  2. Claessens, Stijn & Laeven, Luc, 2004. "What Drives Bank Competition? Some International Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 563-83, June.
  3. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2005. "Reaching out : access to and use of banking services across countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3754, The World Bank.
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  7. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, 2006. "How Cost Elastic are Remittances? Estimates from Tongan Migrants in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 06/02, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
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  11. Gelos, R. G. & Roldos, Jorge, 2004. "Consolidation and market structure in emerging market banking systems," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 39-59, March.
  12. Taylor, J. Edward & Mora, Jorge & Adams, Richard H., Jr., 2005. "Remittances, Inequality and Poverty: Evidence from Rural Mexico," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19245, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  13. Edwards, Alejandra Cox & Ureta, Manuelita, 2003. "International migration, remittances, and schooling: evidence from El Salvador," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 429-461, December.
  14. Alejandra Cox Edwards & Manuelita Ureta, 2003. "International Migration, Remittances, and Schooling: Evidence from El Salvador," NBER Working Papers 9766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Samuel Munzele Maimbo & Dilip Ratha, 2005. "Remittances: Development Impact and Future Prospects," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7339, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Michel Beine & Elisabetta Lodigiani & Robert Vermeulen, 2011. "Remittances and Financial Openness," DNB Working Papers 317, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

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