Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 25 No. 3 (Summer 2011)


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Migrant Remittances

Article Citation

Yang, Dean. 2011. "Migrant Remittances." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(3): 129-52.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.25.3.129


This article is about the economics of migrant remittances sent to developing countries. I review the overall magnitude of remittances and what current research reveals about the motivations for migrant remittances and what effects they have. I discuss field experimental evidence on migrant desires for control over the uses of their remittances. I highlight some key distinctive characteristics of remittances—such as their high frequency and relatively small individual magnitudes—as well as recent experimental evidence on the effect of reductions in remittance transaction fees, and outline a research agenda on the microeconomics of remittance decision making. Finally, I discuss what the future holds for remittances, considering aggregate trends but also approaches likely to be taken by international development agencies, national governments, the private sector, and academic economists.

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Yang, Dean (U MI and BREAD, Duke U)

JEL Classifications

F22: International Migration
F24: Remittances
O19: International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations


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