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The Impact of Remittances on Economic Growth and Development in Africa

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  • Bichaka Fayissa
  • Christian Nsiah

Abstract

The perceived factors of economic growth in developing economies have ranged from surplus labor to capital investment and technological change, trade, foreign aid, foreign direct investment, investment in human capital, increasing returns from investment in new ideas, and research and development. Other researchers have also considered the importance of institutional factors such as the role of political freedom, political instability, and voice and accountability on economic growth and development. Despite the increasing importance of remittances in total international capital flows, however, the relationship between remittances and economic growth has not been adequately studied. This study explores the aggregate impact of remittances on economic growth within the conventional neoclassical growth framework using panel data spanning from 1980 to 2004 for 36 African countries. We find that remittances positively impact economic growth by providing an alternative way to finance investment and helping to overcome liquidity constraints.

Suggested Citation

  • Bichaka Fayissa & Christian Nsiah, 2010. "The Impact of Remittances on Economic Growth and Development in Africa," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 55(2), pages 92-103, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:amerec:v:55:y:2010:i:2:p:92-103
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    2. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-I-Martin, 1992. "Public Finance in Models of Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 645-661.
    3. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2007. "Governance Matters VI: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996-2006," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4280, The World Bank.
    4. Caselli, Francesco & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lefort, Fernando, 1996. "Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 363-389, September.
    5. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    6. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
    7. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Workers' Remittances; Economic Growth; Panel Data; Arellano-Bond; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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