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Remittances; An Automatic Output Stabilizer?

  • Dalia Hakura
  • Ralph Chami
  • Peter Montiel

Remittance flows appear to be falling worldwide for the first time in decades as a result of the ongoing financial turmoil. It is suspected that the drop in remittance income into developing and emerging markets will have a destabilizing effect on these economies. The paper estimates the impact of remittances on output stability for countries that are dependent on these income flows. Using a sample of 70 countries, including 16 advanced economies and 54 developing countries, we find robust evidence that remittances have a negative effect on output growth volatility of recipient countries. This result supports the notion that remittance flows are a stabilizing influence on output. Thus, the fall in remittances precipitated by the ongoing global financial crisis could potentially increase output variability in recipient countries. This would present a hard challenge for governments in those countries already suffering from the crisis: they must resort to an already stressed and limited set of policy instruments, such as fiscal policy, to counter the resulting adverse economic and social impacts of lower remittances.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 09/91.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:09/91
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson & Yunyong Thaicharoen, 2002. "Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth," NBER Working Papers 9124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ralph Chami & Connel Fullenkamp & Samir Jahjah, 2005. "Are Immigrant Remittance Flows a Source of Capital for Development?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(1), pages 55-81, April.
  3. Kose, Ayhan & Prasad, Eswar & Rogoff, Kenneth & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2006. "Financial Globalization: A Reappraisal," CEPR Discussion Papers 5842, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  9. Michael T. Gapen & Thomas F. Cosimano & Ralph Chami, 2006. "Beware of Emigrants Bearing Gifts; Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in the Presence of Remittances," IMF Working Papers 06/61, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Miklos Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Diversification and development," Working Papers 03-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  11. William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993. "Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey & Christian Lundblad, 2004. "Growth Volatility and Financial Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 10560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ricardo J. Caballero, 2000. "Macroeconomic Volatility in Latin America: A Conceptual Framework and Three Case Studies," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
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