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 paper investigates the determinants and the macroeconomic role of remittances in sub-Saharan Africa, assembling the most comprehensive dataset available so far on remittances in the region and incorporating data on the diaspora. It finds that remittances are larger for countries with a larger diaspora or when the diaspora is located in wealthier countries, and that they behave countercyclically, consistent with a role as a shock absorber. Although the effect of remittances in growth regressions is negative, countries with well functioning domestic institutions seem nevertheless to be better at unlocking the potential for remittances to contribute to faster economic growth.