IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/worlde/v44y2021i8p2433-2459.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Sending money home: Transaction cost and remittances to developing countries

Author

Listed:
  • Junaid Ahmed
  • Mazhar Mughal
  • Inmaculada Martínez‐Zarzoso

Abstract

Reducing the cost of remitting is one of the targets within the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 10). A key factor that causes migrants to use informal channels when sending money back home is the high cost of transferring funds through formal channels. This study examines whether and to what extent the reduction in the cost of sending remittances increases the flow of remittances to developing countries, and whether larger amounts are remitted when the cost per transaction decreases (the so‐called scale effect). It uses bilateral data on remittance flows and exploits a novel dataset covering transaction costs for 30 sending and 75 receiving countries for the period 2011–2017. A gravity model of remittance flows is estimated using panel data and instrumental variable techniques to address endogeneity issues. We find that transaction cost is a significant predictor of the volume of formal remittances. A 1% decrease in the cost of remitting USD 200 leads to about a 1.6% increase in remittances. This association is robust to the different models and techniques employed. The findings suggest that policies designed to increase formal remittances need to focus on decreasing the cost of remitting through formal channels.

Suggested Citation

  • Junaid Ahmed & Mazhar Mughal & Inmaculada Martínez‐Zarzoso, 2021. "Sending money home: Transaction cost and remittances to developing countries," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(8), pages 2433-2459, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:44:y:2021:i:8:p:2433-2459
    DOI: 10.1111/twec.13110
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/twec.13110
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1111/twec.13110?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dilip Ratha & William Shaw, 2007. "South-South Migration and Remittances," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 6733.
    2. Portes, Richard & Rey, Helene, 2005. "The determinants of cross-border equity flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 269-296, March.
    3. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2003. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, March.
    4. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=6694 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. John Page & Sonia Plaza, 2006. "Migration Remittances and Development: A Review of Global Evidence," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(2), pages 245-336, December.
    6. 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.
    7. Michel Beine & Fréderic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2008. "Brain Drain and Human Capital Formation in Developing Countries: Winners and Losers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 631-652, April.
    8. Lewer, Joshua J. & Van den Berg, Hendrik, 2008. "A gravity model of immigration," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 164-167, April.
    9. K. Bello Ajide & Ibrahim Dolapo Raheem, 2016. "The Institutional Quality Impact on Remittances in the ECOWAS Sub†Region," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 28(4), pages 462-481, December.
    10. Seyedsoroosh Azizi, 2019. "Why do migrants remit?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 429-452, February.
    11. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=6700 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    13. Sanket Mohapatra & Dilip Ratha, 2011. "Remittance Markets in Africa," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 2292.
    14. Jeffrey Frankel, 2011. "Are Bilateral Remittances Countercyclical?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 1-16, February.
    15. Acosta, Pablo A. & Lartey, Emmanuel K.K. & Mandelman, Federico S., 2009. "Remittances and the Dutch disease," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 102-116, September.
    16. Stark, Oded & Lucas, Robert E B, 1988. "Migration, Remittances, and the Family," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 465-481, April.
    17. Agnès Bénassy‐Quéré & Maylis Coupet & Thierry Mayer, 2007. "Institutional Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(5), pages 764-782, May.
    18. Emmanuel K.K. Lartey & Evelina Mengova, 2016. "Does institutional quality in developing countries affect remittances?," Journal of Developing Areas, Tennessee State University, College of Business, vol. 50(1), pages 59-76, January-M.
    19. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    20. Brei, Michael & von Peter, Goetz, 2018. "The distance effect in banking and trade," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 116-137.
    21. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=6778 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Giuliano, Paola & Ruiz-Arranz, Marta, 2009. "Remittances, financial development, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 144-152, September.
    23. José De Sousa & Laetitia Duval, 2010. "Geographic distance and remittances in Romania: Out of sight, out of mind?," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 121, pages 81-98.
    24. Scott McCracken & Carlyn Ramlogan-Dobson & Marie M. Stack, 2017. "A gravity model of remittance determinants: evidence from Latin America and the Caribbean," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(5), pages 737-749, May.
    25. Lueth Erik & Ruiz-Arranz Marta, 2008. "Determinants of Bilateral Remittance Flows," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-23, October.
    26. Kakhkharov, Jakhongir & Akimov, Alexandr & Rohde, Nicholas, 2017. "Transaction costs and recorded remittances in the post-Soviet economies: Evidence from a new dataset on bilateral flows," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 98-107.
    27. Dean Yang, 2011. "Migrant Remittances," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 129-152, Summer.
    28. Robert G. King & Ross Levine, 1993. "Finance and Growth: Schumpeter Might Be Right," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 717-737.
    29. Cox, Donald & Eser, Zekeriya & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1998. "Motives for private transfers over the life cycle: An analytical framework and evidence for Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 57-80, February.
    30. Giulia Bettin & Alberto Zazzaro, 2012. "Remittances And Financial Development: Substitutes Or Complements In Economic Growth?," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 509-536, October.
    31. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2007. "Enhanced routines for instrumental variables/GMM estimation and testing," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 667, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 05 Sep 2007.
    32. Raju Jan Singh & Markus Haacker & Kyung-woo Lee & Maëlan Le Goff, 2011. "Determinants and Macroeconomic Impact of Remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 20(2), pages 312-340, March.
    33. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
    34. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1991. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Less-skilled Natives," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 201-234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Mazhar Yasin Mughal & Amar Iqbal Anwar, 2015. "Do migrant remittances react to bouts of terrorism?," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(6), pages 567-582, December.
    36. Thorsten Beck & Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, 2011. "What Explains the Price of Remittances? An Examination Across 119 Country Corridors," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 105-131, May.
    37. Freund, Caroline & Spatafora, Nikola, 2008. "Remittances, transaction costs, and informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 356-366, June.
    38. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frederic, 2006. "The Economics of Migrants' Remittances," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, in: S. Kolm & Jean Mercier Ythier (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 17, pages 1135-1198, Elsevier.
    39. B. Gabriela Mundaca, 2009. "Remittances, Financial Market Development, and Economic Growth: The Case of Latin America and the Caribbean," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 288-303, May.
    40. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760, Elsevier.
    41. Hrushikesh Mallick, 2017. "Determinants of workers’ remittances: An empirical investigation for a panel of eleven developing Asian economies," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(12), pages 2875-2900, December.
    42. Amar Iqbal Anwar & Mazhar Yaseen Mughal, 2012. "Motives to remit: some microeconomic evidence from Pakistan," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(1), pages 574-585.
    43. Mr. Yi Wu & Ms. Elina Ribakova & Mr. Dimitri G Demekas & Mr. Balázs Horváth, 2005. "Foreign Direct Investment in Southeastern Europe: How (and How Much) Can Policies Help?," IMF Working Papers 2005/110, International Monetary Fund.
    44. Devesh KAPUR, 2004. "Remittances: The New Development Mantra?," G-24 Discussion Papers 29, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    45. Matthew Higgins & Alketa Hysenbegasi & Susan Pozo, 2004. "Exchange-rate uncertainty and workers' remittances," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(6), pages 403-411.
    46. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-546, June.
    47. Carlos Vargas-Silva & Peng Huang, 2006. "Macroeconomic determinantsof workers' remittances: Hostversus home country's economic conditions," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 81-99.
    48. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Pozo, Susan, 2004. "Workers' Remittances and the Real Exchange Rate: A Paradox of Gifts," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1407-1417, August.
    49. repec:cii:cepiie:2010-january-121-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    50. Rajen Mookerjee & Jellina Roberts, 2011. "Banking services, transaction costs and international remittance flows," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 199-205.
    51. Adams Jr., Richard H., 2009. "The Determinants of International Remittances in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 93-103, January.
    52. Dramane Coulibaly, 2009. "Macroeconomic Determinants of Migrants' Remittances: New Evidence from a panel VAR," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 09007, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    53. Siegfried, Nikolaus & Schiopu, Ioana, 2006. "Determinants of workers' remittances: evidence from the European Neighbouring Region," Working Paper Series 688, European Central Bank.
    54. Emmanuel Owusu-Sekyere & Francis M. Kemegue & Reneé van Eyden, 2011. "What drives remittance inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa: A Dynamic Panel Approach," Working Papers 262, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    55. Fabrizio Ferriani & Giacomo Oddo, 2019. "More distance, more remittance? Remitting behavior, travel cost, and the size of the informal channel," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 48(3), November.
    56. Ilahi, Nadeem & Jafarey, Saqib, 1999. "Guestworker migration, remittances and the extended family: evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 485-512, April.
    57. El-Sakka, M. I. T. & McNabb, Robert, 1999. "The Macroeconomic Determinants of Emigrant Remittances," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1493-1502, August.
    58. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-918, October.
    59. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2007. "Enhanced routines for instrumental variables/generalized method of moments estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(4), pages 465-506, December.
    60. repec:cii:cepiei:2010-january-121-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    61. Anna Mayda, 2010. "International migration: a panel data analysis of the determinants of bilateral flows," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(4), pages 1249-1274, September.
    62. Jørgen Carling, 2008. "The determinants of migrant remittances," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 582-599, Autumn.
    63. Faini, Riccardo, 1994. "Workers Remittances and the Real Exchange Rate: A Quantitative Framework," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 235-245.
    64. Ahmed, Junaid & Martínez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada, 2016. "Do transfer costs matter for foreign remittances?," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal (2007-2020), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), vol. 10, pages 1-36.
    65. Kyung-woo Lee & Mr. Markus Haacker & Mr. Raju J Singh, 2009. "Determinants and Macroeconomic Impact of Remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 2009/216, International Monetary Fund.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Giorgio Fagiolo & Tommaso Rughi, 2021. "Exploring the Macroeconomic Drivers of International Bilateral-Remittance Flows: A Gravity-Model Approach," LEM Papers Series 2021/12, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Farid Makhlouf & Refk Selmi, 2021. "The role of remittances in times of socio-political unrest: Evidence from Tunisia," Working Papers hal-03263815, HAL.
    3. Adriana R. Cardozo Silva & Luis R. Diaz Pavez & Inmaculada Martínez‐Zarzoso & Felicitas Nowak‐Lehmann, 2022. "The impact of COVID‐19 government responses on remittances in Latin American countries," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(4), pages 803-822, May.
    4. Sven Steinkamp & Frank Westermann, 2022. "Development aid and illicit capital flight: Evidence from Nepal," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(7), pages 2305-2336, July.
    5. Hannes Warnecke-Berger, 2022. "The financialization of remittances and the individualization of development: A new power geometry of global development," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 54(4), pages 702-721, June.
    6. Shivakumar Srinivas & Satya Sivaraman, 2021. "Understanding Relevant Sustainable Development Goal Targets Related to Labour Migration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations During the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic," Books, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), number 2021-RPR-04 edited by Shivakumar Srinivas & Satya Sivaraman, January.
    7. Mr. Kangni R Kpodar & Patrick A. Imam, 2022. "How Do Transaction Costs Influence Remittances," IMF Working Papers 2022/218, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Siddiqui, Aaliyah & Kautish, Pradeep & Sharma, Rajesh & Sinha, Avik & Siddiqui, Mujahid, 2022. "Evolving a policy framework discovering the dynamic association between determinants of oil consumption in India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ahmed, Junaid & Martinez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada, 2014. "What drives bilateral remittances to Pakistan? A gravity model approach," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 209, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    2. Ahmed, Junaid & Martínez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada, 2015. "Do transfer costs matter for foreign remittances? A gravity model approach," Economics Discussion Papers 2015-12, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    3. Giorgio Fagiolo & Tommaso Rughi, 2021. "Exploring the Macroeconomic Drivers of International Bilateral-Remittance Flows: A Gravity-Model Approach," LEM Papers Series 2021/12, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    4. Giulia Bettin & Andrea F. Presbitero & Nikola L. Spatafora, 2017. "Remittances and Vulnerability in Developing Countries," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(1), pages 1-23.
    5. Giulia Bettin & Andrea F. Presbitero & Nikola L. Spatafora, 2017. "Remittances and Vulnerability in Developing Countries," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(1), pages 1-23.
    6. José De Sousa & Laetitia Duval, 2010. "Geographic distance and remittances in Romania: Out of sight, out of mind?," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 121, pages 81-98.
    7. Ibrahim Sirkeci & Jeffrey H. Cohen & Dilip Ratha, 2012. "Migration and Remittances during the Global Financial Crisis and Beyond," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 13092.
    8. Adriana R. Cardozo Silva & Luis R. Diaz Pavez & Inmaculada Martínez‐Zarzoso & Felicitas Nowak‐Lehmann, 2022. "The impact of COVID‐19 government responses on remittances in Latin American countries," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(4), pages 803-822, May.
    9. Dorsaf Srdid & Wafa Ghardallou, 2019. "Remittances and Disaggregated Country Risk Ratings in Tunisia: An ARDL Approach," Working Papers 1326, Economic Research Forum, revised 21 Aug 2019.
    10. Ekpeno L. Effiong & Emmanuel E. Asuquo, 2017. "Migrants' Remittances, Governance and Heterogeneity," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(4), pages 535-554, October.
    11. Sanket Mohapatra & Dilip Ratha, 2010. "Forecasting migrant remittances during the global financial crisis," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 7(2), pages 203-213, October.
    12. Dorsaf Sridi & Imene Guetat, 2020. "The direct and indirect risk impacts on remittances: A cross‐regional specific effects," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 32(3), pages 288-302, September.
    13. Michael Clemens and David McKenzie, 2014. "Why Don't Remittances Appear to Affect Growth? - Working Paper 366," Working Papers 366, Center for Global Development.
    14. Ziesemer, Thomas H.W., 2012. "Worker remittances, migration, accumulation and growth in poor developing countries: Survey and analysis of direct and indirect effects," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 103-118.
    15. Michael A. Clemens & David McKenzie, 2018. "Why Don't Remittances Appear to Affect Growth?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 179-209, July.
    16. Jounghyeon Kim, 2019. "The Impact of Remittances on Exchange Rate and Money Supply: Does “Openness” Matter in Developing Countries?," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(15), pages 3682-3707, December.
    17. Giulia Bettin & Riccardo Lucchetti & Alberto Zazzaro, 2009. "Income, consumption and remittances: evidence from immigrants to Australia," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 34, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    18. P. Jijin & Alok Kumar Mishra & M. Nithin, 2022. "Macroeconomic determinants of remittances to India," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 1229-1248, May.
    19. Shastri, Shruti, 2022. "The impact of infectious diseases on remittances inflows to India," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 83-95.
    20. Coulibaly, Dramane, 2015. "Remittances and financial development in Sub-Saharan African countries: A system approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 249-258.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances
    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:44:y:2021:i:8:p:2433-2459. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0378-5920 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley Content Delivery (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0378-5920 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.