The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The role of remittances in development and economic growth is not well understood. This is partly because the literatures on the causes and effects of remittances remain separate. We develop a framework that links the motivation for remittances with their effect on economic activity. Because remittances take place under asymmetric information and economic uncertainty, there exists a significant moral hazard problem. The implication is that remittances have a negative effect on economic growth. We test this prediction using panel methods on a large sample of countries. The results indicate that remittances do have a negative effect on economic growth, which indicates that the moral hazard problem in remittances is severe.