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Financial Literacy and Remittance Behavior of Skilled and Unskilled Immigrant Groups in Australia

  • Wasana Karunarathne
  • John Gibson

The growing literature on financial literacy suggests people in many countries are poorly prepared for making major financial decisions. One important sub-population rarely examined by financial literacy studies is immigrants, who have specialized financial needs related to remittances. This paper examines variation in financial literacy amongst two actively remitting immigrant groups in Australia – Sri Lankans and Samoans – using surveys designed and supervised by the authors. Paying attention to remittance-related and credit-related literacy, large gaps in the level of financial literacy of the two groups are shown, which are due especially to differences in educational attainment. The wide variation in the transactions costs of various remittance channels available to these two groups suggest that many immigrants could save several hundred dollars per year if improved financial literacy helped to produce more efficient remittance choices.

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File URL: http://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/796969/1170.pdf
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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1170.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1170
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 5355
Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
Web page: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au
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  1. Carpena, Fenella & Cole, Shawn & Shapiro, Jeremy & Zia, Bilal, 2011. "Unpacking the causal chain of financial literacy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5798, The World Bank.
  2. David J. McKenzie & Johan Mistiaen, 2009. "Surveying migrant households: a comparison of census-based, snowball and intercept point surveys," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(2), pages 339-360.
  3. Karunarathne, Wasana & Gibson, John, 2014. "Financial literacy and remittance behavior of skilled and unskilled immigrant groups in Australia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 54-62.
  4. Diana J. Beal & Sarath B. Delpachitra, 2003. "Financial Literacy Among Australian University Students," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 22(1), pages 65-78, 03.
  5. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David & Zia, Bilal, 2012. "The impact of financial literacy training for migrants," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6073, The World Bank.
  6. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," NBER Working Papers 17078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  8. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
  9. Anna Paulson & Sherrie Rhine, 2008. "The Financial Assimilation of an Immigrant Group: Evidence on the Use of Checking and Savings Accounts and Currency Exchanges," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 264-278, June.
  10. Mathia Sinning & Markus Hahn & Thomas K. Bauer, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for nonlinear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 480-492, December.
  11. John Gibson & Geua Boe-Gibson & Halahingano Rohorua & David McKenzie, 2007. "Efficient remittance services for development in the Pacific," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 14(2), pages 55-74, December.
  12. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, 2006. "How Cost Elastic are Remittances? Estimates from Tongan Migrants in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 06/02, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
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