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

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  • Wasana Karunarathne
  • John Gibson

Abstract

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 specialised 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Wasana Karunarathne & John Gibson, 2013. "Financial Literacy and Remittance Behaviour of Skilled and Unskilled Immigrant Groups in Australia," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1170, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1170
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Annamarie Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," Working Papers wp108, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    4. 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.
    5. 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, March.
    6. Karunarathne, Wasana & Gibson, John, 2014. "Financial literacy and remittance behavior of skilled and unskilled immigrant groups in Australia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, pages 54-62.
    7. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Bilal Zia, 2014. "The Impact of Financial Literacy Training for Migrants," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 130-161.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, pages 279-295.
    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anwar, Sajid & Cooray, Arusha, 2015. "Financial flows and per capita income in developing countries," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 304-314.
    2. Karunarathne, Wasana & Gibson, John, 2014. "Financial literacy and remittance behavior of skilled and unskilled immigrant groups in Australia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, pages 54-62.
    3. repec:eee:pacfin:v:43:y:2017:i:c:p:218-237 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Shen, Chung-Hua & Lin, Shih-Jie & Tang, De-Piao & Hsiao, Yu-Jen, 2016. "The relationship between financial disputes and financial literacy," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 46-65.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial literacy; Immigrants; Remittances; Transaction Costs; Information; Australia;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances

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