The size and effects of emigration and remittances in the Western-Balkans: Forecasting based on a Delphi process
The objective of this paper is to forecast the size and effects of remittances and emigration in four Western-Balkan countries: Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo, through application of a qualitative forecasting method: a Delphi questionnaire. We solicited consensus building within and between two groups of respondents: 10 experts and 20 receivers were consulted per country in three subsequent rounds - two on the same group, and a third cross-round whereby average answers of receivers were given to experts, and vice versa. Consensual results suggest that remittances in the projected five-year period will increase in Macedonia and Serbia, and will reduce in Albania and Kosovo. With lower consensus, results forecast that emigration will decelerate in Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, and will accelerate in Serbia by 2021. Emigration effects for the society have been forecasted to be predominantly negative due to skilled labour emigration, while remittances were forecasted to maintain their effect on poverty in Macedonia and Serbia, and weaken it in Albania. In all four countries, expert and receivers were in agreement that remittances will continue to support current consumption only. On the other hand, Macedonians lacked consensus on remittances’ effect on the labour market, whereby experts agreed that remittances will support inactivity, while receivers – employment. On the other hand, there has been a consensus achieved in the other three countries that remittances will support labour-market activity.
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