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Remittances and poverty in Ghana

  • Adams, Richard H. Jr.

The author uses a large, nationally representative household survey to analyze the impact of internal remittances (from Ghana) and international remittances (from African and other countries) on poverty in Ghana. With only one exception, he finds that both types of remittances reduce the level, depth, and severity of poverty in Ghana. But the size of the poverty reduction depends on how poverty is being measured. The author finds that poverty is reduced more when international, as opposed to internal, remittances are included in household income, and when poverty is measured by the more sensitive poverty measures-poverty gap and squared poverty gap. For example, the squared poverty gap measure shows that including international remittances in household expenditure (income) reduces the severity of poverty by 34.8 percent, while including internal remittances in such income reduces the severity of poverty by only 4.1 percent. International remittances reduce the severity of poverty more than internal remittances because of the differential impact of these two types of remittances on poor households. Households in the poorest decile group receive 22.7 percent of their total household expenditure (income) from international remittances, as opposed to only 13.8 percent of such income from internal remittances. When these"poorest of the poor"households receive international remittances, their income status changes dramatically and this in turn has a large effect on any poverty measure-like the squared poverty gap-that considers both the number and distance of poor households beneath the poverty line.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3838.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3838
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  1. Adams, Richard H., Jr., 1991. "The effects of international remittances on poverty, inequality, and development in rural Egypt:," Research reports 86, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Adams, Richard H. Jr., 2004. "Remittances and poverty in Guatemala," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3418, The World Bank.
  3. Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Taylor, J. Edward & Mora, Jorge & Adams, Richard H., Jr., 2005. "Remittances, Inequality and Poverty: Evidence from Rural Mexico," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19245, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  5. William Carrington & Enrica Detragiache, 1998. "How Big is the Brain Drain?," IMF Working Papers 98/102, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Barham, Bradford & Boucher, Stephen, 1998. "Migration, remittances, and inequality: estimating the net effects of migration on income distribution," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 307-331, April.
  7. Lipton, Michael, 1980. "Migration from rural areas of poor countries: The impact on rural productivity and income distribution," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 1-24, January.
  8. Claudia Martínez Alvear & Dean Yang, 2007. "Remittances and Poverty in Migrants’ Home Areas: Evidence from the Philippines," Working Papers wp257, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  9. Gustafsson, Bjorn & Makonnen, Negatu, 1993. "Poverty and Remittances in Lesotho," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 2(1), pages 49-73, May.
  10. Schmertmann, Carl P., 1994. "Selectivity bias correction methods in polychotomous sample selection models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 101-132.
  11. Lanzona, Leonardo A., 1998. "Migration, self-selection and earnings in Philippine rural communities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 27-50, June.
  12. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1983. "Generalized Econometric Models with Selectivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 507-12, March.
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