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Are Bilateral Remittances Countercyclical?

  • Jeffrey A. Frankel

By putting together a relatively large data set on bilateral remittances of emigrants, this paper is able to shed light on the important hypothesis of smoothing. The smoothing hypothesis is that remittances are countercyclical with respect to income in the worker's country of origin (the recipient of the remittance), while procyclical with respect to income in the migrant's host country (the sender of the remittance). The econometric results confirm the hypothesis. This affirmation of smoothing is important for two reasons. First, it suggests that remittances should be placed on the list of criteria for an optimum currency area. Second, it sheds light on plans by governments in some developing countries to harness remittances for their own use, in that government spending in these countries generally fails the test of countercyclicality that remittances pass.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15419.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Jeffrey Frankel, 2011. "Are Bilateral Remittances Countercyclical?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 1-16, February.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15419
Note: IFM
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