Income and consumption smoothing and welfare gains across Pacific Island Countries: The role of remittances and foreign aid
We examine the potential welfare gains and channels of income smoothing for Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and find that, under full risk sharing overall welfare gains across all PICs (particularly, Kiribati, Palau, and Papua New Guinea) are at desirable levels. However, for Australia, the potential welfare gain from risk sharing is almost similar to the gain it obtains if Australia attains full risk sharing with the rest of the OECD countries or with New Zealand alone. We also break down output using the framework of Sørensen and Yosha (1998) to quantify the extent and channels of risk sharing across PICs. For PICs, income-smoothing channels (net factor income and current transfers) play a significant role in buffering the output shock compared to the performance of those channels on smoothing the output shock for OECD countries. Domestic savings also smooth a fair portion of shocks to output, but the extent is much lower compared to that of OECD countries. Further, we analyze the effect of remittances and foreign aid on income smoothing for the PICs excluding Australia and New Zealand. Income smoothing via remittances is highly volatile and significant in recent years, while foreign aid seems to be a stronger and more stable channel for smoothing domestic output shocks for PICs.
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