Counter visits from more than 160  countries and 1400 universities (details)

The political economy of development
This academic site promotes excellence in teaching and researching economics and development, and the advancing of describing, understanding, explaining and theorizing.
About us- Castellano- Français - Dedication
Home- Themes- Reports- Statistics/Search- Lecture notes/News- People's Century- Puro Chile- Mapuche

Castellano - Français On Planning for development: on remittances   - Editor: Róbinson Rojas Sandford

From The World Bank Group

Migration and Remittance Flows: Recent Trends and Outlook, 2013-2016

Remittance flows to developing countries are expected to reach $414 billion in 2013 (up 6.3 percent over 2012), and $540 billion by 2016. Worldwide, remittance flows may reach $550 billion in 2013 and over $700 billion by 2016. These increases are projected in spite of a $10 billion downward revision in the data due to the introduction of the Sixth Edition of the IMF Balance of Payments Manual and the reclassification of several developing countries as high-income countries.

As the development community debates the post-2015 development agenda, there is a case to be made for reducing migration costs, including the costs of recruitment, visa, passport, and residency permits.

 From Finance & Development, September 2013, Vol. 50, No. 3
Beyond the Household
Remittances that migrants send home to their families also have a major impact on the overall economy
Ralph Chami and Connel Fullenkamp

Remittances—private income transfers from migrants to family members in their home country— are good news for the families that receive them. Often sent a few hundred dollars at a time, the remittances increase disposable income and are generally spent on consumption—of food, clothing, medicine, shelter, and electronic equipment. They have been growing for decades (see Chart 1). Remittances help lift huge numbers of people out of poverty by enabling them to consume more than they could otherwise (Abdih, Barajas, and others, 2012). They also tend to help the recipients maintain a higher level of consumption during economic adversity (Chami, Hakura, and Montiel, 2012). Recent studies report that these flows allow households to work less, take on risky projects they would avoid if they did not receive this additional source of income, or invest in the education and health care of the household. In other words, remittances are a boon for households.But...

From The Economist - 28th April 2012
Remittance corridors
New Rivers of Gold
Remittances from unlikely places are helping poor countries in the downturn

Remittance Flows in 2011: An Update

April 23, 2012—Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have reached $372 billion in 2011, an increase of 12.1 percent over 2010.

Remittances Data: Inflows, Outflows

Leveraging Migration for Africa: Remittances, Skills, and Investments

March 30, 2011—With 30 mn Africans outside their countries, migration is a vital lifeline for the continent. Press release | Blog | Webpage | Data | Podcast | Video


From The World Bank Group
Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011
Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to increase by 6 percent to $325 billion in 2010. This marks a healthy recovery from a 5.5 percent decline registered in 2009. Remittance flows are expected to increase by 6.2 percent in 2011 and 8.1 percent in 2012, to reach $374 billion by 2012.

From The World Bank Group
Migration and Remittances Factbook 2008
This factbook provides a snapshot of migration and remittances for all countries, regions and income groups of the world, compiled from available data from various sources.

Global Economic Prospects 2006
Economic Implications of Remittances and Migration

WASHINGTON, November 16, 2005 — International migration can generate substantial welfare gains for migrants and their families, as well as their origin and destination countries, if policies to better manage the flow of migrants and facilitate the transfer of remittances are pursued, says the World Bank's annual Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report for 2006.
“With the number of migrants worldwide now reaching almost 200 million, their productivity and earnings are a powerful force for poverty reduction,” said François Bourguignon, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics.
“Remittances, in particular, are an important way out of extreme poverty for a large number of people. The challenge facing policymakers is to fully achieve the potential economic benefits of migration, while managing the associated social and political implications.”

Riccardo Faini:
Is the Brain Drain an Unmitigated Blessing?
(PDF 200KB)
Increasingly, immigration policies tend to favour the entry of skilled workers, raising substantial concerns among sending countries. The ‘revisionist’ approach to the analysis of the brain drain holds that such concerns are largely unwarranted. First, sustained migratory flows may be associated with an equally large flow of remittances. Second, migrants may return home after having acquired a set of productive skills. Finally, the ability to migrate abroad may boost the incentive to acquire skills by home residents. This paper takes a further look at the link between skilled migration, education, and remittances. It finds little support for the revisionist approach. First, a higher skilled content of migration is found to be associated with a lower flow of remittances. Second, there is little evidence suggesting that raising the skill composition of migration has a positive effect on the educational achievements in the home country.

Andrés Solimano - 2003>
Remittances by Emigrants: Issues and Evidence
(PDF 231KB)

Remittances, after foreign direct investment, are currently the most important source of external finance to developing countries. Remittances surpass foreign aid, and tend to be more stable than such volatile capital flows as portfolio investment and international bank credit. Remittances are also an international redistribution from low-income migrants to their families in the home country.
Worldwide, remittances are relatively concentrated in a group of developing countries: the top 20 recipient-countries of workers’ remittances capture around 80 per cent of total remittances by workers to the developing countries. The three main source countries of remittances are the US, Saudi Arabia and Germany, while in terms of value, the three main recipient countries are India, Mexico and the Philippines. .../.

From The World Bank Group
International Migration, Remittances and the Brain Drain
International Migration Reduces Poverty in Developing Countries, But Results in Massive Brain Drain for Some.-
October 24, 2005, Washington, D.C—Migrants' remittances reduce poverty in developing countries, but massive emigration of highly-skilled citizens poses troubling dilemmas for many smaller low-income countries, a new World Bank research study finds. International Migration, Remittances and the Brain Drain, a study produced by the Bank's research department, includes a detailed analysis of household survey data in Mexico, Guatemala and the Philippines---all countries that produce millions of migrants---which concludes that families whose members include migrants living abroad have higher incomes than those with no migrants.
R. H. Adams (2003):
International migration, remittances, and the brain drain; a study of 24 labour exporting countries
While the level of international migration and remittances continues to grow, data on international migration remains unreliable. At the international level, there is no consistent set of statistics on the number or skill characteristics of international migrants. At the national level, most labor-exporting countries do not collect data on their migrants. Adams tries to overcome these problems by constructing a new data set of 24 large, labor-exporting countries and using estimates of migration and educational attainment based on United States and OECD records. He uses these new data to address the key policy question: How pervasive is the brain drain from labor-exporting countries? Three basic findings emerge: With respect to legal migration, international migration involves the movement of the educated. The vast majority of migrants to both the United States and the OECD have a secondary (high school) education or higher. While migrants are well-educated, international migration does not tend to take a very high proportion of the best educated. For 22 of the 33 countries in which educational attainment data can be estimated, less than 10 percent of the best educated (tertiary-educated) population of labor-exporting countries has migrated. For a handful of labor-exporting countries, international migration does cause brain drain. For example, for the five Latin American countries (Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica and Mexico) located closest to the United States, migration takes a large share of the best educated. This finding suggests that more work needs to be done on the relationship between brain drain, geographical proximity to labor-receiving countries, and the size of the (educated) population of labor-exporting countries.
From "State of the World Population", UNFPA, 2004:
Migration and Urbanization - chapter 4
Migration Police Institute
The Global Remittances Guide presents remittance trends over time worldwide, in six regions, and in the top remittances-receiving countries in terms of volume and share of GDP.
More resources on the Hub

From the Interamerican Development Bank:
More than 90 papers on remittances
More than 40 reports on remittances

ALERTNET (The Reuter Foundation)
Reuters AlertNet is a humanitarian news network based around a popular website. It aims to keep relief professionals and the wider public up-to-date on humanitarian crises around the globe. AlertNet attracts upwards of ten million users a year, has a network of 400 contributing humanitarian organizations and its weekly email digest is received by more than 26,000 readers.

It was started in 1997 by Reuters Foundation - an educational and humanitarian trust - to place Reuters' core skills of speed, accuracy and freedom from bias at the service of the humanitarian community. AlertNet has won a Popular Communication award for technological innovation, a NetMedia European Online Journalism Award for its coverage of natural disasters and has been named a Millennium Product by the British Government -- an award for outstanding applications of innovative technologies.

R. Hinojosa Ojeda - UCLA - NAID Center - 2003
Transnational Migration, Remittances and Development in North America:
Globalization Lessons from the OaxaCalifornia Transnational Village/Community Modeling Project

While much attention has recently been given to the developmental impacts of Globalization, defined primarily as the liberalized flows of trade and investment, this report argues that the process of migration, remittances and the formation of transnational communities, along with associated policy responses, can have a much greater impact, both positive and negative, on the prospects for sustainable development and equity in both rich and developing countries. The principal findings of this report are that transnational policy coordination in the North American context, specifically focused on improved remittance intermediation for investment in both migrant sending and receiving areas, can have potentially dramatic effects on improving the living conditions of transnational migrant families, as well as the sustainable and equitable development of communities in both the U.S. and Latin America.

P. De Vasconcelos - 2005
Improving the development impact of remittances
United Nations Expert Group Meeting on International Migration and Development
Population Division - Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations Secretariat - New York

Call it the case of the missing billions. For decades, millions of migrant workers have been sending billions of dollars back to their home countries to support their families. Yet the impact of these huge international flows of both money and workers is only now beginning to be understood.
More than $45 billion flowed from the rest of the world to Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) alone in 2004—exceeding the combined total of foreign direct investment and foreign aid once again for the entire region (see map 1). And these figures undoubtedly underestimate the actual totals, because of problems in counting and tracking these flows—known as remittances.

A. H. Hastings - 2006
Entry of MFIs into the Remittance Market: Opportunities and Challenges
Prepared for The Global Microcredit Summit - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - November 13, 2006

In 2005, migrant worker remittances – the portion of migrants’ earnings returned to their country of origin – totaled approximately US$232 billion globally – three times official development aide of US$78.6 billion dollars. In fact, formal remittances constitute the second largest source of external funding for developing countries behind Foreign Direct Investment. The $46 billion in remittances sent to Latin America and the Caribbean last year by 30 million migrants was nearly equal to all foreign investment in private companies! Moreover, migration and remittance experts argue that unofficial transfers could be almost as large as, if not larger than, the formal flows.3 The importance of the flow of remittances for developing countries cannot be underestimated. Remittances account for more than 10 percent of the gross domestic products (GDP) of 15 developing countries studied by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is true for some islands in the Caribbean and Pacific and for several labor-exporting countries such as Albania, El Salvador, Jordan, and the Philippines. Remittances account for over 29 percent of Nicaragua’s GDP.4 In Jamaica, remittances generate more revenues than foreign trade. In Haiti, in every year since 1996, remittances have been consistently greater than the total amount of revenue generated...

M. Orozco - 2004
Institute for the Study of International Migration
Georgetown University - Washington, DC
The Remittance Marketplace: Prices, Policy and Financial Institutions

Over the past several months a growing number of countries, including the United States, have committed themselves to facilitating remittance transfers by immigrants who send money back to their home countries. Leaders of the major industrialized democracies and Russia at the annual summit of the Group of Eight (G8) countries that begins June 8, 2004 are expected to call for efforts to reduce the costs of transfers and to promote a greater role by banks and other financial institutions in an industry currently dominated by wire transfer firms. In January, leaders of the Western Hemisphere meeting at the Special Summit of the Americas in January called for the costs of remittances to be cut in half by 2008.
To better understand the challenges involved in meeting these goals, the Pew Hispanic Center commissioned Manuel Orozco, a senior researcher at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of International Migration to conduct a detailed assessment of the marketplace for remittance transfer services between the United States and Latin America. The study reached two major conclusions relevant to the new initiatives:...

D. Ratha and J. Riedberg - 2005
World Bank
On reducing remittance costs

High fees charged by remittance service providers is a major challenge for policy makers interested in facilitating international migrant remittance flows to developing countries. This paper discusses some of the factors that influence the price of remittance services. Drawing on conversations with some remittance service providers, this paper argues that remittance services should be recognized as a self-standing industry separate from banking services. That would help efforts to simplify and harmonize regulations relating to remittances, thereby encouraging competition in the remittance market. Improving access of smaller remittance service providers such as credit unions and larger microfinance institutions clearing and settlement systems would also help improve competition and reduce remittance costs. Finally, improving the access of undocumented migrants to formal remittance channels, especially banks, would have a significant impact on remittance costs and also on discouraging the use of informal channels.

M. Orozco - 2002
Attracting remittances: Market, money and reduced costs
Report commissioned by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC.

This report analyses the market of remittances from the United States to nine Central American and Caribbean countries from the perspective of their business practices. The report focuses on remittance companies, business practices that benefit their customers sending and receiving remittances by criteria such as lower charges, convenient business locations, and community outreach. Money transfer charges as well as exchange rate differentials continue to be of concern for nine major Latin American remittance recipient countries. A key finding is that remittances are less costly when competition is greater. As the report shows, charges in fees and exchange rate incurred to send and receive remittances can add up to 14 percent of the amount sent. It is in the interest of nations and families receiving remittances to increase the quantity and flow of remittance monies, in part by reducing the share lost to transaction costs, and in part by increasing the gross flow of migrant remittances and investments.

F. Lozano-Ascencio
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Remittance behaviour among Latin American immigrants in the United States

This paper analyzes the factors that influence remittance behavior in the United States of Latin American immigrants. Data for this study come from The National Survey of Latinos, conducted in 2002, and is analyzed using logistic regressions. Individual characteristics, financial ability to remit, and family obligations in the home and in the host country are hypothesized to affect remittance behavior. Results of the regression analyses confirm previous research findings, with the exception of one: those migrants who have a bank account in the host country are more likely to transfer remittances than migrants who do not have one. Therefore, having a bank account in the country of destination –regardless of their migratory status– has allowed migrants to better administer their economic resources, has increased their likeliness of sending remittances to their countries of origin, and has helped them with their process to consolidate their economic citizenship.

Bendixen and Associates - 2008
Repor Commissioned by the Inter_American Development Bank and MIF
Latin American Immigrants in the United States: Migration Dynamics and Patterns

M. Orozco - 2004
Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues and perspectives on development
Report Commissioned by the Organization of American States

When most people think of the flow of foreign currency to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), they probably assume that foreign aid or investment by business accounts for most of the money arriving in Latin countries. In fact, immigrant remittances – money sent by Latin Americans living and working in other countries, most notably the U.S., to their families in their countries of origin – is the largest source of foreign capital flowing to LAC today. In 2003, Latin America received $38 billion.1 The significance of this financial resource is therefore hard to understate. Moreover, the volume and contribution of remittances raises crucial questions regarding the details of the actual contribution to growth, and how the remittance transfers can be maximized through a range of policy options, ranging from lower sending costs to enhancing equity and employment generation.
This endeavor to better understand the nature of migrant remittances and to maximize their financial benefits is the focus of this paper. It is also a key concern of the Organization of the American States (OAS). Indeed, during the 2004 OAS’s Summit of the Americas, the presidents of the hemisphere declared the need to reduce transaction costs by 50 percent in the next five years. By reducing the cost of transmitting money, more money is freed up for LAC families and communities, thus enhancing the developmental potential of remittances. When thinking about the relationship between development and remittances, it is important to keep four premises in mind:
First, these financial flows represent a significance volume with broad economic effects.
Second, while remittances primarily go to the poor, remittances alone are not a solution to the structural constraints of poverty. In many and perhaps most cases, remittances provide a temporary relief to families’ poverty, but seldom provide a permanent avenue into financial security.
Third, in order to strengthen ways in which remittances can promote sustainable development, concrete policies need to be adopted.
Fourth, any approach to remittances demands a consideration of the agents involved, particularly immigrants and their families who are responsible for this flow.
The same report as a .doc file

Bendixen and Associates - 2005
Repor Commissioned by the Inter_American Development Bank and MIF
Sending money to Latin America: the human face of remittances

L. Suki -2007
Columbia University
Competition and Remittances in Latin America: Lower Prices and More Efficient Markets

Along with accelerating migration from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the growing flow of worker remittances – money sent home by migrants abroad - has rapidly gained the attention of governments, the private sector and civil society as an important issue in development. Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean reached nearly $54 billion in 2005. Increasing competition in remittances markets has been identified as a means of lowering transaction costs and improving the efficiency of the market. This theme also has far-reaching development consequences in achieving national policy objectives, especially in the context of increasing financial access to the poor. While the study of remittances and the competition landscape of the industry is still in its infancy, this paper attempts to highlight gaps between ideal competitive market conditions and current circumstances.
Although prices for remittances to LAC - often high and widely variable - have fallen with competition in many corridors, certain remittance service providers (RSPs) exercise market power, charging above market prices. While service options and quality standards have improved with new entrants, services and innovations, geographic disparities persist within and among countries depending on their financial infrastructure, as well as other factors. The economics of the remittances industry, especially its geographic fragmentation and the importance of building acquisition and distribution networks, generates economic challenges for new entrants and incumbents. Structural and systemic constraints to more competitive conditions - lack of transparency, underdeveloped financial infrastructure, challenging legal and regulatory frameworks and poor financial access – may set up barriers to entry that maintain incumbent institutions’ large proportion of LAC remittances markets.

Regional Seminar “Migrants’ remittances: An alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean?”
Caracas, Venezuela - 26 and 27 July 2004
Current trends in migrants’ remittances in Latin America and the Caribbean: An evaluation of their social and economic importance

This document is aimed at examining the recent trends in remittances to the Latin American and Caribbean region; evaluating the economic and social importance of these resources for development in migrants’ countries of origin; analysing the socio-demographic characteristics of the population transferring remittances and the obstacles to the functioning of remittance transfer systems; and assessing their economic and productive potential for development in migrants’ countries of origin.
During the period 1995-2002, money remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) had an extraordinary growth, as they rose from US$ 11.7 billion to US$ 24.4 billion. These figures confirm that LAC was the region with the most dynamic growth in the world in terms of reception of remittances, since the remittances it received accounted for 23.2% of the global total in 1995, and in 2002 that share rose to 32.2%.
Within the region, it can be clearly seen that the largest flow of remittances goes into Mexico: From US$ 3.7 billion in 1995 – which accounted for 31% of total remittances sent to the region – transfers to Mexico rose to nearly US$ 10 billion in 2002, representing 40% of regional remittances. In 2003, remittances to Mexico surpassed US$ 13 billion, and estimates indicate that they will continue to rise to over US$ 15 billion in 2004.
As far as remittances’ share in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is concerned, it can be seen that while remittances into LAC represented 0.7% of the region’s GDP in 1995, that figure grew to 1.4% in 2002. However, in the case of some Central American countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as in Dominican Republic and Jamaica, in the Caribbean, remittances’ share in the GDP was actually higher than 10%. Therefore, the impact of remittances tends to be stronger in smaller countries, which allegedly are also poorer and have a less diversified productive structure.

Sergio Bendixen, President, Bendixen and Associates
Testimony to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology "The Role of Remittances in Leveraging Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean"
March 7, 2007

A great deal has happened in the remittance market in recent years. Efforts to improve remittance data collection, increase competition and reduce cost in the remittance industry, and explore the development impact of remittances have born fruit. Today, we know that:
• Remittances sent to Latin America and the Caribbean were more than $62.3 billion in 2006, surpassing the combined amount of net official development assistance and foreign direct investment to the region;
• Money transfer costs have been reduced by over 50 percent;
• Remittances constitute one of the broadest and most effective poverty alleviation programs in the world. In Latin America and the Caribbean, an estimated 8-10 million families would fall below the poverty line without remittance income. For them, remittances are critically needed.
The challenge now is to help leverage the economic development impact of remittances. For this reason, the 2006 survey of the United States had a particular focus on the banking practices of immigrants, remittance investment potential, and the financial products that senders and receivers are most interested in receiving.

Bendixen and Associates
Multilateral Investment Fund
Inter-American Development Bank
Survey of Remittance Senders: U.S. to Latin America
Nov / Dec 2001 - 1,000 Interviews - Margin of Error: 3%

Multilateral Investment Fund - Inter-American Development Bank
Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean
February 2002
Remittances -- the portion of international migrant workers’ earnings sent back to countries of origin – provide a distinctly human dimension to globalization. For generations, financial flows back to the “home country” have constituted an important means of support to family members remaining in less developed countries.
However, as the scale of migration has increased in recent years, leading to a dramatic acceleration in remittances, their social and economic impact has grown well beyond family relationships, and is now drawing national and international attention. Improvements in transportation, communication and information technologies make it much easier for migrant workers and their families, not only to maintain close personal contact, but also to create significant new opportunities for economic exchange across national borders.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) where remittances currently constitute a critical flow of foreign currency to the majority of countries. The implications for national economies—and the corresponding potential multiplier effect on GDP, consumption and investment—are becoming major financial and development policy issues for recipient countries throughout the region.
Latin America & the Caribbean: Remittances by Selected Countries - 1999 (US$ millions)
Statistical overview for “Remittances as a Development Tool: A Regional Conference,”
The following statistical overview is provided as background to the conference “Remittances as a Development Tool: A Regional Conference,” sponsored by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Inter-American Dialogue, on May 17-18, 2001, at IDB Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This conference will address three key themes: the economic role of remittances, reducing the cost of transfers, and channeling migrant capital more toward investment opportunities.
Latin American and the Caribbean Foreign-Born Population 14.47 million
U.S. Census 2000
The data in this overview have been drawn from calculations provided by central banks of remittance-receiving countries through 1999, and publications of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and United Nations. However, as many remittances flow through private

From the World Bank - Public Disclosure Authorized WPS3957
R. Aggarwal, A. Demirguc-Kunt, M. S. Martinez Peria - 2006
Do workers' remittances promote financial development ?

Workers' remittances to developing countries have become the second largest type of flows after foreign direct investment. The authors use data on workers' remittance flows to 99 developing countries from 1975-2003 to study the impact of remittances on financial sector development. In particular, they examine whether remittances contribute to increasing the aggregate level of deposits and credit intermediated by the local banking sector. This is an important question considering the extensive literature that has documented the growth-enhancing and poverty-reducing effects of financial development. The findings provide strong support for the notion that remittances promote financial development in developing countries.

Final Report on the Ministerial Conference of the Least-Developed Countries on Enhancing the Development impact of Remittances
February 2006
International Organization for Migration (IOM)

In response to the growing importance of remittances and their development potential for LDCs, IOM, in collaboration with the Government of Benin and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) organized a two-day ministerial conference on remittances to LDCs entitled "Ministerial Conference of the Least Developed Countries on Enhancing the Development Impact of Remittances".

The overall objective of the conference was to explore avenues to enhance and improve the development impact of remittances in LDCs. The conference provided a platform for participants to share experiences and lessons learned, consult on issues faced by migrant remitters and propose practical solutions to optimize the development benefits of remittances.

Inter-American Development Bank - 2006
Sustaining Development for all
Expanding Access to Economic Activity and Social Services

Access to financial services (credit, savings or micro-insurance) for the poor has proven to be essential for productive investments—including the increasing flow of remittances—that help them escape poverty and provides them with a low cost risk management tool to cope with negative economic shocks. While there have been significant advances in increasing access to financial services to low-income populations, aggregate figures show that there is still a long way to go.

Asian Development Bank - 2003
By Kevin Mellyn
Workers remittances as a development tool opportunity for the Philippines
1. Remittances by individuals working abroad to their home country is a very old phenomenon. After the Great Famine of 1846–1848, an Irish Diaspora spread across the British Empire and the Americas. Remittances, especially from female domestics in the US, became the single most important source of capital for the Irish countryside. Remittances from the US to Italy were of vital importance when foreign credit was cut off in 1907. From 1950–1960, remittances were the key to the development of Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Yugoslavia.
2. The modern appreciation of remittances as a development tool is very recent and represents an irony of globalization. The first great age of globalization (from 1815–1914) involved Britain exporting 4–5% per annum of national income and nearly 20 million people, mainly from the poor “Celtic Fringe” (Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) to developing countries, above all the United States (US). Today, the US is a large net importer of capital and people from developing countries and reciprocal capital flows to developing countries are, to an ever greater extent, the product of either permanent or temporary migration of individuals seeking economic opportunities in higher income countries, especially the US.

Carlo Dade - 2001
Foundation Representative for Haïti and the Dominican Republic,
The Inter-American Foundation
The Development Potential of Remittances in Latin America
Even though remittances are an old story, this is a relatively new topic for the development community. Though, the IAF has funded projects in, what in hindsight we now call, remittance work. The IAF funds projects created and implemented by community organizations, NGOs, the organized poor and other elements of civil society in Latin America. The Foundation has neither programmatic nor sectoral limitations. We fund the best, most innovative proposals for grassroots development in the region. As such, we naturally receive proposals for work with remittances. In recent years, as more and more groups in Latin America and the Caribbean have seized upon the potential to use remittances for grassroots development, we have received a concomitant increase in proposals for work in this area. Yet, one of the firsts of these projects was in… Despite the size and scope of remittances, or perhaps because of it, we most of the productive work with remittances occurring at the grassroots, community to community level. This is because remittances are tied to specific individuals and then to specific communities. It is too large, or even conceivable, a burden to add national or regional concerns. Or, to put it another way, a poor migrant sending home US$100 a month may occasionally be able to send an additional US$10 or US$20 to fix a church or buy a computer, but this individual likely cannot afford to remit another US$10 or US$20 a month to fund a regional development initiative. Where collective remittances have been used by national governments to fund regional and national development projects is Korea. Here the government will assess a fee, or tax, or earnings of workers who are sent abroad by Korean companies working on projects abroad. Another example is the fee that the Haitian government has collected for Haitian workers recruited by Dominican companies. In both cases government intervention amounted to imposition of a tax on labor and or earnings. This is a crucial point for governments considering inserting themselves into the flow of remittances.

E. López-Córdova - 2006
Globalization, migration and development. The role of Mexican migrant remittances

IDB/MIF Remittances as a Development Tool: A Regional Conference - May 2001
Remittances:Statistical Overview 2001
Remittances – the portion of international migrant workers’ earnings sent back to countries of origin – have for generations been a traditional means of financial support to family members remaining in less-developed countries.
As the scale of migration has increased in recent years and the growth of remittances has accelerated dramatically, the social and economic impact of this phenomenon now transcends family relationships and is drawing national and international attention.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), where remittances now constitute a critical flow of foreign currency to the majority of countries. The implications for national economies – and the corresponding potential multiplier effect on GDP, consumption and investment – are becoming major financial and development issues throughout the region.
The following statistical overview is provided as background to the conference “Remittances as a Development Tool: A Regional Conference,” sponsored by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Inter-American Dialogue, on May 17-18, 2001, at IDB Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This conference will address three key themes: the economic role of remittances, reducing the cost of transfers, and channeling migrant capital more toward investment opportunities.

Remittances 2005. Promoting financial democracy
Although remittances are primarily intended to meet the basic needs of family members back home, these funds also generate opportunities for local communities and national economies. Nowhere is this more apparent that in Latin America and the Caribbean, the fastest growing and highest volume remittance market in the world. Currently, remittances are sent each year from all over the world to approximately 18 million households across the Region, mostly outside of the financial system.

E. López-Córdova and A. Olmedo - 2006
International remittances and development
Existing evidence, policies and recommendations

IDB/MIF - 2006
Sending Money Home. Leveraging the Development Impact of Remittances
The Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund began to intensively analyze the volume, transaction costs, and development potential of international remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2000. At that time, the phenomenon was literally “hidden in plain view,” the subject of errors and omissions columns in international financial reports. A great deal has happened since that time. MIF programs to improve remittance data collection, increase competition and reduce costs in the remittance industry, and explore the development impact of remittances have borne fruit. Today, we know that:
- Remittances sent to Latin America and the Caribbean from all parts of the world are expected to be more than $60 billion in 2006, surpassing both the amount of official development assistance and foreign direct investment to the region;
- Money transfer costs have been reduced by over 50 percent;
- Remittances constitute one of the broadest and most effective poverty alleviation programs in the world, reaching approximately 20 million households in the LAC region alone.

Remittance senders and receivers: tracking the transnational channels
Across the United States some six million immigrants from Latin America now send money to their families back home on a regular basis. The number of senders and the sums they dispatched grew even when the U.S. economy slowed, and looking to the future, the growth seems likely to continue and potentially to accelerate. The total remittance flow from the United States to Latin America and the Caribbean could come close to $30 billion this year, making it by far the largest single remittance channel in the world. These funds now reach large portions of the populations in the region—18 percent of all adults in Mexico and 28 percent in El Salvador are remittance receivers—and the impact is no longer limited to the countryside or to the poor. Taken altogether these indicators suggest that the remittance traffic in the Western Hemisphere has crossed a threshold not only in magnitude but also in significance.
Since the year 2000, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) has been addressing the issue of remittances and their impact on development in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Numerous governments, financial institutions, international development organizations, and scholars recognize that immigrant remittances now constitute a source of vital income to many developing countries and an important form of economic activity among nations. That is the macro picture. To better understand those developments as well as the micro picture, the Pew Hispanic Center (PHC) and the Multilateral Investment Fund conducted a series of studies in 2003 that collected information on remittance sending and receiving from some 11,000 individuals in the United States and Latin America. This research includes two separate projects: The 2003 National Survey of Latinos conducted by the PHC and the Kaiser Family Foundation in the United States. And, a series of surveys and focus groups conducted by the MIF and the PHC in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Ecuador with fieldwork performed by Bendixen and Associates.

R. Suro, S. Bendixen, B.Lindsay Lowell, and Dulce C.Benavides - 2003
Latino Immigrants, Remittances and Banking
Billions in Motion: A Report produced in cooperation between The Pew Hispanic Center and The Multilateral Investment Fund

Until recently, the money management practices of Latino immigrants in the United States aroused little attention outside their own communities. That changed as the remittance flow doubled in size during the second half of the 1990s. Although the size of the average remittance transfer is miniscule—$200 to $300—in the world of international finance, the cumulative sums have now captured the attention of government policymakers and bankers in the United States and Latin America. Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean totaled $23 billion in 2001, according to estimates by the Multilateral Investment Fund. Not long ago this was a cottage industry in which cash was often hand carried across borders. In the 1990s it evolved into a traffic dominated by wire-transfer services such as Western Union, and now it is becoming increasingly formalized as more credit unions offer remittance services and with the introduction of electronic banking products that allow a remittance deposited in an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in the United States to be retrieved almost instantly from an ATM in Latin America.

IDB - Integration and Regional Programs Department
Integration, Trade and Hemispheric Issues Division
Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL) - 2006
Integration and trade in the Americas. Special Issue on Latin America and Caribbean Economic Relations with Asia-Pacific
Remittances are an increasingly important component in capital flows between Asia and Latin America. Japan is Asia’s key source of remittances to Latin America, accounting for nearly a tenth of the region’s total inflows in 2003 (table 3). In the case of Brazil, by far the most important recipient of Latin America-bound remittances from Japan, this figure is nearly 20 percent.25 While remittances to Latin America from Japan pale next to flows from the United States, they do exceed Latin Americans’ remittances from Europe. Moreover, although there are fewer Latin Americans living in Japan (an estimated 435,000, of whom 70 percent remit) than in the United States or Europe, they tend to send at least twice as much per transaction as Latin American migrants in other countries.26 According to a survey commissioned by the IDB in 2005,27 Latin American remitters in Japan send money home some 14.5 times a year, with each transfer averaging $600. As a result, in absolute terms, Latin America’s remittance revenue from Japan is hardly trivial: in 2003, remittances from Japan totaled $3 billion, which represents nearly 50 percent of Latin America’s exports to Japan that year. Overall, the number of separate annual financial transactions between Japan and Latin America that involve remittances are estimated at 4.5 million.

F. Portocarrero Maisch, A. Tarazona Soria and G. D. Westley
How Should Microfinance Institutions Best Fund Themselves?
In recent years, with the maturing of the microfinance industry in Latin America, large numbers of microfinance institutions (MFIs) have greatly increased their outreach and sustainability. Their capital structure has also been maturing and is progressively approaching the structure that predominates in banks.
While many MFIs initially depended on domestic and international borrowing, their main source of funds is now by far deposits. Thus, an important milestone in the funding of MFIs has been reached. This observation is based on the analysis of a database we have constructed covering 61 MFIs that specialize in microfinance and are subject to prudential regulation. These 61 MFIs are located in nine Latin American countries with major microfinance markets: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru. At the end of 2003, the 61 MFIs had attracted US$ 1.24 billion in deposits, which represented 65 percent of their total liabilities. The deposit/loan ratio had reached 76 percent by the end of 2003, indicating that the amount of deposits was almost equal to the size of the loan portfolio. Thus, it is now fair to say that deposits are no longer the forgotten half of microfinance.

From id21 insights #60 l January 2006
Sending money home. Can remittances reduce poverty?
At least US$232 billion will be sent back home globally by around 200 million migrants to their families in 2005, three times official development aid (US$78.6 billion dollars). Moreover, migration and remittance experts argue that the unofficial transfers could be as large as formal flows. What impact is this having on poverty reduction?

IDB - 2004
Sending money home: remittance to Latin America and the Caribbean Whatever one’s point of view, the process and its consequences cannot be ignored – the globalization of finance, trade, and technology is a reality that must be acknowledged and addressed.
However, there is one aspect of globalization that historically has attracted relatively little attention: the flow of workers to fill jobs in more developed countries, and the subsequent financial flows back to their families in countries of origin. But this is rapidly changing as international organizations, national governments, universities, foundations, and financial institutions, are currently in the process of “discovering remittances”. From a purely economic perspective, this movement of labor across borders constitutes an international labor market that is closely connected to the globalization process. But, the transfer of remittances from immigrant workers back...

From ACCION InSight No. 10 - May 2004
Leveraging the Impact of Remittances through Microfinance Products: Perspectives from Market Research
ACCION’s market research on immigrants and remittances challenge the conventional wisdom about immigration. No longer is immigration a one-way process. A new, transnational way of life is emerging that immigrants create for themselves. Today, immigrants strive to participate in two communities at once. They pursue financial and investment goals for themselves and their families in the United States, while at the same time planning joint investment projects with families back home.
Providers of financial services are challenged to respond to this transnational way of life with financial products that can enhance the ability of immigrants to participate actively in the lives their families back home and to pursue their own goals both in the home country and in the United States.

IDB - Mar del Plata - 2005
Report to the Summit of the Americas
During the Hemispheric Summit that took place in Quebec, Canada, in April 2001, the Inter-American Development Bank presented a set of 22 strategic programs intended to contribute to meeting the mandates that stem from the Summits of the Americas and the commitments that are part of the Plan of Action adopted in Quebec.
Since then, the IDB has carried out intensive and complex financial and technical activities in the context of those 22 strategic programs. The programs fall into five areas that summarize the mandates adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Americas, namely: democratic governance and political development; integration and economic development; ecology and sustainable development; equity and human development; and connectivity and technological development.




Back to migration

On Development
Human Development
Sustainable Development
Education for Sustainable Development
Climate Change

On Development Economics
The Future of Development Economics
The New Economy in Development
The Need to Rethink Development Economics
Development Economics
Economic Literacy
Basic knowledge on economics

RRojas Databank is a member of Development Gateway hosted by The World Bank

Education for Sustainability
Postgraduate courses on
Environment and
Development Education at
London South Bank University

- Part time distance learning
- Full time at the University

- Come visit us at

- Notes for lectures
- Notes and papers

- Global Value Chains
- Integrated International

- International Division of

- Transnational Corporations
- The Triad ( U.S.A, Japan, E.U.)

- Dependency Theory
- Development Planning
- The Developmental State
- The Neo-liberal State
- Development Economics
- The future of development

- Foreign Direct Investment
- Factor Payments to Abroad
- The New Economy in

- International Trade

Back to Global Economic Prospects for Developing Countries

--World Investment Reports
---(the complete series)

--World Investment Reports
---(selected statistics)

-- Planning for Development
UNCTAD areas of work:
Globalization and Development
Development of Africa
Least Developed Countries
Landlocked Developing Countries
Small Island Developing States
International Trade and

Services Infrastructure
Investment, Technology and
Enterprise Development

The following databases on-line are available:
Commodity Price Statistics
Foreign Direct Investment
Handbook of Statistics
ICT Statistics
Millennium Indicators

Digital Library:
-- News
-- Main publications
-- UNCTAD Series
-- Basic documents
-- Issues in Brief
-- Newsletters
-- Statistical databases
-- Globalization and
----- Development Strategies

-- Economic Development in
----- Africa

-- International trade
-- Dispute Settlement - Course
----- Modules

-- Investment, Technology and
-----Enterprise Development

-- Services Infrastructure for
--- Development and Trade
----- Efficiency

-- Monographs on Port
----- Management

-- Technical Cooperation
-- Discussion papers
-- G-24 Discussion papers
-- Prebisch Lectures
-- Transnational Corporations
----- Journal

-- Publications Survey 2006-

World indicators on the environment

World Energy Statistics - Time Series

Economic inequality

Other related themes:
- Aid
- Bureaucracy
- Debt
- Decentralization
- Dependency theory
- Development
- Development Economics
- Economic Policies
- Employment/Unemployment
- Foreign Direct Investment
- Gender
- Human Rights
- Human Development
- Hunger
- Inequality/social exclusion
- Informal sector
- Labour Market
- Microfinance
- Migration
- Poverty
- Privatization
- State/Civil Society/

- Sustainable Development
- Transnational Corporations
- Urbanization

- Complete list of development themes
Róbinson Rojas on:
Sustainable development in a globalized economy? The odds. 1999
Sustainable development in a globalized economy. 1997
Making sense of development studies
Notes on the philosophy of the capitalist system
Notes on economics: assuming scarcity
Notes on economics: about obscenities, poverty and inequality
Notes on structural adjustment programmes
Agenda 21 revisited (notes)
15 years of monetarism in Latin America: time to scream
Latin America: a failed industrial revolution
Latin America: the making of a fractured society
Latin America: a dependent mode of production

Puro Chile la memoria del pueblo
Proyecto para el Primer Siglo Popular

Director: Róbinson Rojas


Paz y Seguridad
Informe del Panel sobre las operaciones de paz 2000
Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo
D. F. Terry y S. R. Wilson, editores
Remesas de inmigrantes. Moneda de cambio económico y social

La globalización tiene muchos rostros humanos. Una de sus múltiples facetas es el perpetuo movimiento de personas a través de las fronteras. Muchas de ellas son hombres y mujeres del mundo en desarrollo que toman la difícil decisión de abandonar su hogar y buscar trabajo en el extranjero. Una vez que consiguen empleo, la mayoría de estos trabajadores comienza a enviar dinero a los familiares que se quedaron en su país. Casi todas estas remesas son de pequeños montos pero, en conjunto, el flujo de recursos que representan supera con creces la asistencia para el desarrollo y el valor de las principales exportaciones en muchos países.
En América Latina y el Caribe, por ejemplo, los inmigrantes envían dinero periódicamente a sus familias, en montos que oscilan entre US$200 y US$300 mensuales. Si se suman todas estas remesas, el total es mucho más de lo que recibe la mayoría de los países en forma de asistencia oficial para el desarrollo más inversión extranjera directa. En 2004, los padres, madres, hijos, hijas, tías y tíos enviaron más de US$45.000 millones a sus seres queridos en todo el territorio de las Américas. Hoy en día, las remesas de los inmigrantes son una importante fuente de divisas para los países de origen de estos trabajadores, y a menudo rebasan los ingresos derivados de las principales exportaciones, incluso del petróleo. Millones de personas migran hacia el norte, y miles de millones de dólares fluyen hacia el sur. .


Puro Chile la mémoire du peuple
Projet pour le Premier Siècle Populaire

Editeur: Róbinson Rojas


Haut Commisariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés
Paix et Sécurité
Rapport du Groupe d'étude sur les opérations de paix 2000