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The Remitting Patterns of African Migrants in the OECD-super- †


  • Albert Bollard
  • David McKenzie
  • Melanie Morten


Recorded remittances to Africa have grown dramatically over the past decade. Yet data limitations still mean relatively little is known about which migrants remit, how much they remit and how their remitting behaviour varies with gender, education, income levels and duration abroad. This paper constructs the most comprehensive remittance database currently available on immigrants in the OECD, containing microdata on more than 12,000 African immigrants. Using this microdata the authors establish several basic facts about the remitting patterns of Africans, and then explore how key characteristics of policy interest relate to remittance behaviour. Africans are found to remit twice as much on average as migrants from other developing countries, and those from poorer African countries are more likely to remit than those from richer African countries. Male migrants remit more than female migrants, particularly among those with a spouse remaining in the home country; more-educated migrants remit more than less educated migrants; and although the amount remitted increases with income earned, the gradient is quite flat over a large range of income. Finally, there is little evidence that the amount remitted decays with time spent abroad, with reductions in the likelihood of remitting offset by increases in the amount remitted conditional on remitting. Copyright 2010 The author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert Bollard & David McKenzie & Melanie Morten, 2010. "The Remitting Patterns of African Migrants in the OECD-super- †," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 19(5), pages 605-634, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:19:y:2010:i:5:p:605-634

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Ravallion, Martin & Bidani, Benu, 1994. "How Robust Is a Poverty Profile?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(1), pages 75-102, January.
    4. Hentschel, J. & Lanjouw, P., 1996. "Constructing an Indicator of Consumption for the Analysis of Poverty. Principles and Illustrations with Reference to Ecuador," Papers 127, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    5. Angus Deaton & Salman Zaidi, 2002. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14101.
    6. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Statistical Inference in the Measurement of Poverty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 632-639, November.
    7. Dercon, Stefan & Mekonnen, Tadesse, 1999. "A comparison of poverty in rural and urban Ethiopia," Ethiopian Journal of Economics, Ethiopian Economics Association, vol. 8(1).
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    Cited by:

    1. Bredtmann, Julia & Martínez Flores, Fernanda & Otten, Sebastian, 2016. "Remittances and the Brain Drain: Evidence from Microdata for Sub-Saharan Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 10367, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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