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The impact of remittances on poverty and human capital : evidence from Latin American household surveys

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  • Acosta, Pablo
  • Fajnzylber, Pablo
  • Lopez, J. Humberto

Abstract

This paper explores the impact of remittances on poverty, education, and health in 11 Latin American countries using nationally representative household surveys and making an explicit attempt to account for one of the inherent costs associated with migration-the potential income that the migrant may have made at home. The main findings of the study are the following: (1) regardless of the counterfactual used remittances appear to lower poverty levels in most recipient countries; (2) yet despite this general tendency, the estimated impacts tend to be modest; and (3) there is significant country heterogeneity in the poverty reduction impact of remittances'flows. Among the aspects that have been identified in the paper that may leadto varying outcomes across countries are the percentage of households reporting remittances income, the share of remittances of recipient households belonging to the lowest quintiles of the income distribution, and the relative importance of remittances flows with respect to GDP. While remittances tend to have positive effects on education and health, this impact is often restricted to specific groups of the population.

Suggested Citation

  • Acosta, Pablo & Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lopez, J. Humberto, 2007. "The impact of remittances on poverty and human capital : evidence from Latin American household surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4247, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4247
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    Keywords

    Population Policies; Remittances; Poverty Monitoring&Analysis; Achieving Shared Growth; Small Area Estimation Poverty Mapping;

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