Can remittances spur development? A critical survey

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60 Scopus citations


The increasing volume of global remittances has impressed policymakers and social scientists alike. Besides outpacing official development assistance and private capital flows, remittances have proven markedly stable and counter-cyclical. They represent an essential nondebt creating, safety-net vehicle administered by extended families and local communities rather than provincial and national governments. This essay surveys the recent pattern of remittances and critically examines the theoretical and empirical literature on their determinants and welfare impact. The argument is made that the developmental contribution of remittances can be significantly enhanced through complementary macroeconomic policies in labor exporting countries and financial innovations in remittance transmission. Enhanced policy coordination on temporary transnational worker migration - as facilitated by Mode 4 of the General Agreement on Trade in Services - can prove instrumental in helping remittances offset the traditional brain drain besetting developing economies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-76
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Studies Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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