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Remittances, consumption and investment in Ghana

  • Adams, Richard H., Jr.
  • Cuecuecha, Alfredo
  • Page, John

This paper uses a new, nationally-representative household survey from Ghana to analyze within a rigorous econometric framework how the receipt of internal remittances (from within Ghana) and international remittances (from African or other countries) affects the marginal spending behavior of households on a broad range of consumption and investment goods, including food, education and housing. Contrary to other studies, which find that remittances are spent disproportionately on consumption (food and consumer goods/durables) or investment goods (education and housing), the findings show that households receiving remittances in Ghana do not spend more at the margin on food, education and housing than households with similar income levels and characteristics that do not receive remittances. When the analysis controls for endogeneity and selection bias, the findings show that any differences in the marginal spending behavior between remittance-receiving and non-receiving households are explained completely by the observed and unobserved characteristics of households. Households in Ghana treat remittances just like any other source of income, and there are no changes in marginal spending patterns for households with the receipt of remittance income.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4515.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4515
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  1. Samir Jahjah & Ralph Chami & Connel Fullenkamp, 2003. "Are Immigrant Remittance Flows a Source of Capital for Development," IMF Working Papers 03/189, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1983. "Generalized Econometric Models with Selectivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 507-12, March.
  3. Osili, Una Okonkwo, 2004. "Migrants and Housing Investments: Theory and Evidence from Nigeria," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 821-49, July.
  4. Edwards, Alejandra Cox & Ureta, Manuelita, 2003. "International migration, remittances, and schooling: evidence from El Salvador," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 429-461, December.
  5. Schmertmann, Carl P., 1994. "Selectivity bias correction methods in polychotomous sample selection models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 101-132.
  6. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  7. J. A. Hausman & W. K. Newey & J. L. Powel, 1988. "Nonlinear Errors in Variables: Estimation of Some Engel Curves," Working papers 504, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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