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Remittance stability, cyclicality and stabilizing impact in developing countries

  • Neagu , Ileana C.
  • Schiff, Maurice

That remittances are a stable source of external finance seems to have become the received wisdom. In addition, many studies have found remittances to behave counter-cyclically, increasing during crises and times of hardship for the recipient countries. Are remittances reliable macroeconomic stabilizers? To answer this question, the present study examines the stability, cyclicality, and stabilizing impact of remittances in comparison with the same three features for other foreign-exchange inflows, namely foreign direct investment and official development aid. The analysis is performed at the country and regional levels rather than at the aggregate or global level (on which much of the received wisdom rests), because policymakers are concerned with the impact of remittances in their country rather than at the global level. The main findings for 1980-2007 are that in a majority of countries: i) official development aid is more stable than remittances, and remittances are more stable than foreign direct investment; ii) official development aid is counter-cyclical, while remittances are pro-cyclical, although less so than foreign direct investment; and iii) official development aid is stabilizing and remittances are destabilizing, although less so than foreign direct investment. The paper suggests that it is necessary to examine counter-cyclicality separately from the stabilizing impact, as the former does not seem to always imply the latter.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5077.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5077
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  1. Serdar Sayan, 2006. "Business Cycles and Workers' Remittances; How Do Migrant Workers Respond to Cyclical Movements of GDP At Home?," IMF Working Papers 06/52, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Bugamelli, Matteo & Paternò, Francesco, 2009. "Do Workers' Remittances Reduce the Probability of Current Account Reversals?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 1821-1838, December.
  3. El-Sakka, M. I. T. & McNabb, Robert, 1999. "The Macroeconomic Determinants of Emigrant Remittances," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1493-1502, August.
  4. Yang Dean, 2008. "Coping with Disaster: The Impact of Hurricanes on International Financial Flows, 1970-2002," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-45, June.
  5. Marta Ruiz-Arranz & Paola Giuliano, 2005. "Remittances, Financial Development, and Growth," IMF Working Papers 05/234, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Timothy Halliday, 2005. "Migration, Risk and Liquidity Constraints in El Salvador," Working Papers 200511, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics, revised 28 Mar 2006.
  7. Dilip Ratha & Sanket Mohapatra & Ani Silwal, 2009. "Outlook for Remittance Flows 2009-2011 : Remittances Expected to Fall by 7-10 Percent in 2009," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10975, The World Bank.
  8. Dean Yang & HwaJung Choi, 2005. "Are Remittances Insurance? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in the Philippines," Working Papers 535, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  9. Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe, 2004. "A Theory of Workers' Remittances with An Application to Morocco," IMF Working Papers 04/194, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Claudia M. Buch & Anja Kuckulenz & Marie-Helene Le Manchec, 2002. "Worker Remittances and Capital Flows," Kiel Working Papers 1130, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  11. Kuckulenz, Anja & Buch, Claudia M., 2004. "Worker Remittances and Capital Flows to Developing Countries," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-31, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  12. Poonam Gupta, 2005. "Macroeconomic Determinants of Remittances; Evidence From India," IMF Working Papers 05/224, International Monetary Fund.
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