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Remittance stability, cyclicality and stabilizing impact in developing countries

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  • Neagu , Ileana C.
  • Schiff, Maurice

Abstract

That remittances are a stable source of external finance seems to have become the received wisdom. In addition, many studies have found remittances to behave counter-cyclically, increasing during crises and times of hardship for the recipient countries. Are remittances reliable macroeconomic stabilizers? To answer this question, the present study examines the stability, cyclicality, and stabilizing impact of remittances in comparison with the same three features for other foreign-exchange inflows, namely foreign direct investment and official development aid. The analysis is performed at the country and regional levels rather than at the aggregate or global level (on which much of the received wisdom rests), because policymakers are concerned with the impact of remittances in their country rather than at the global level. The main findings for 1980-2007 are that in a majority of countries: i) official development aid is more stable than remittances, and remittances are more stable than foreign direct investment; ii) official development aid is counter-cyclical, while remittances are pro-cyclical, although less so than foreign direct investment; and iii) official development aid is stabilizing and remittances are destabilizing, although less so than foreign direct investment. The paper suggests that it is necessary to examine counter-cyclicality separately from the stabilizing impact, as the former does not seem to always imply the latter.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5077.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5077

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Keywords: Economic Conditions and Volatility; Remittances; Debt Markets; Economic Theory&Research; Emerging Markets;

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References

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  1. Dean Yang, 2006. "Coping with Disaster: The Impact of Hurricanes on International Financial Flows, 1970-2002," NBER Working Papers 12794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. HwaJung Choi, 2007. "Are Remittances Insurance? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in the Philippines," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 219-248, May.
  3. Giuliano, Paola & Ruiz-Arranz, Marta, 2009. "Remittances, financial development, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 144-152, September.
  4. Halliday, Timothy, 2006. "Migration, Risk, and Liquidity Constraints in El Salvador," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 893-925, July.
  5. Kuckulenz, Anja & Buch, Claudia M., 2004. "Worker Remittances and Capital Flows to Developing Countries," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-31, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. Serdar Sayan, 2006. "Business Cycles and Workers' Remittances," IMF Working Papers 06/52, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Dilip Ratha & Sanket Mohapatra & Ani Silwal, 2009. "Outlook for Remittance Flows 2009-2011 : Remittances Expected to Fall by 7-10 Percent in 2009," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10975, The World Bank.
  8. Claudia M. Buch & Anja Kuckulenz & Marie-Helene Le Manchec, 2002. "Worker Remittances and Capital Flows," Kiel Working Papers 1130, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  9. Bugamelli, Matteo & Paterno, Francesco, 2005. "Do workers'remittances reduce the probability of current account reversals ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3766, The World Bank.
  10. Poonam Gupta, 2005. "Macroeconomic Determinants of Remittances," IMF Working Papers 05/224, International Monetary Fund.
  11. El-Sakka, M. I. T. & McNabb, Robert, 1999. "The Macroeconomic Determinants of Emigrant Remittances," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1493-1502, August.
  12. Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe, 2004. "A Theory of Workers' Remittances with An Application to Morocco," IMF Working Papers 04/194, International Monetary Fund.
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Cited by:
  1. Sarah Jacobson & Ragan Petrie, 2012. "Favor Trading in Public Good Provision," Working Papers 1032, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
  2. Christian EBEKE, 2010. "Transferts des migrants, ouverture sur l'extérieur et dépenses publiques dans les pays en développement," Working Papers 201011, CERDI.
  3. Rémi Generoso, 2012. "Transferts de fonds et résilience des pays d'Afrique de l'Ouest face à la variabilité des précipitations : une perspective macroéconomique," Working Papers hal-00830021, HAL.
  4. Chami Ralph & Hakura Dalia S. & Montiel Peter J., 2012. "Do Worker Remittances Reduce Output Volatility in Developing Countries?," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-25, June.

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