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What Explains the Price of Remittances? An Examination Across 119 Country Corridors


  • Thorsten Beck
  • Maria Soledad Martinez Peria


Remittances are a substantial source of external financing for developing countries that influence many aspects of their development. Though research has shown that remittances are both expensive and price sensitive, little is known about what explains their price. Newly gathered data across 119 country pairs or corridors are used to explore the factors associated with the price of remittances. Corridors with larger numbers of migrants and more competition among providers are found to exhibit lower prices for remittances, when average prices across all types of remittance service providers are considered. Corridors with lower barriers to access banking services and broader regulation of remittance service providers also have lower prices. Remittance prices are higher in richer corridors and in corridors with greater bank participation in the remittance market. Few significant differences emerge when results are compared across banks and, separately, across money transfer operators. However, estimations for Western Union, a leading player in the remittances business, suggest that its prices are less sensitive to competition. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Thorsten Beck & Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, 2011. "What Explains the Price of Remittances? An Examination Across 119 Country Corridors," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 105-131, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:25:y:2011:i:1:p:105-131

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    Cited by:

    1. David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2015. "Evidence on Policies to Increase the Development Impacts of International Migration," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 155-192.
    2. Beine, Michel & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Vermeulen, Robert, 2012. "Remittances and financial openness," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 844-857.
    3. Kosse, Anneke & Vermeulen, Robert, 2014. "Migrants’ Choice of Remittance Channel: Do General Payment Habits Play a Role?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 213-227.
    4. Kimberly Beaton & Svetlana Cerovic & Misael Galdamez & Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov & Franz Loyola & Zsoka Koczan & Bogdan Lissovolik & Jan Kees Martijn & Yulia Ustyugova & Joyce Wong, 2017. "Migration and Remittances in Latin America and the Caribbean; Engines of Growth and Macroeconomic Stabilizers?," IMF Working Papers 17/144, International Monetary Fund.
    5. 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).
    6. Cooray, Arusha, 2012. "Migrant remittances, financial sector development and the government ownership of banks: Evidence from a group of non-OECD economies," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 936-957.

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