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Mr. Kangni R Kpodar, Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Mr. Saad N Quayyum, and Vigninou Gammadigbe
This paper provides an early assessment of the dynamics and drivers of remittances during the COVID-19 pandemic, using a newly compiled monthly remittance dataset for a sample of 52 countries, of which 16 countries with bilateral remittance data. The paper documents a strong resilience in remittance flows, notwithstanding an unprecedent global recession triggered by the pandemic. Using the local projection approach to estimate the impulse response functions of remittance flows during Jan 2020-Dec 2020, the paper provides evidence that: (i) remittances responded positively to COVID-19 infection rates in migrant home countries, underscoring its role as an important automatic stabilizer; (ii) stricter containment measures have the unintended consequence of dampening remittances; and (iii) a shift from informal to formal remittance channels due to travel restrictions appears to have also played a role in the surge in formal remittances. Lastly, the size of the fiscal stimulus in host countries is positively associated with remittances as the fiscal response cushions the economic impact of the pandemic.
Zsoka Koczan, Magali Pinat, and Mr. Dmitriy L Rozhkov
International migration is an important channel of material improvement for individuals and their offspring. The movement of people across country borders, especially from less developed to richer countries, has a substantial impact in several dimensions. First, it affects the migrants themselves by allowing them to achieve higher income as a result of their higher productivity in the destination country. It also increases the expected income for their offspring. Second, it affects the destination country through the impact on labor markets, productivity, innovation, demographic structure, fiscal balance, and criminality. Third, it can have a significant impact on the countries of origin. It may lead to loss of human capital, but it also creates a flow of remittances and increases international connections in the form of trade, FDI, and technological transfers. This paper surveys our understanding of how migration affects growth and inequality through the impact on migrants themselves as well as on the destination and origin countries.
Jose Deodoro, Mr. Michael Gorbanyov, Majid Malaika, and Tahsin Saadi Sedik
The era of quantum computing is about to begin, with profound implications for the global economy and the financial system. Rapid development of quantum computing brings both benefits and risks. Quantum computers can revolutionize industries and fields that require significant computing power, including modeling financial markets, designing new effective medicines and vaccines, and empowering artificial intelligence, as well as creating a new and secure way of communication (quantum Internet). But they would also crack many of the current encryption algorithms and threaten financial stability by compromising the security of mobile banking, e-commerce, fintech, digital currencies, and Internet information exchange. While the work on quantum-safe encryption is still in progress, financial institutions should take steps now to prepare for the cryptographic transition, by assessing future and retroactive risks from quantum computers, taking an inventory of their cryptographic algorithms (especially public keys), and building cryptographic agility to improve the overall cybersecurity resilience.
Ruchir Agarwal, Ina Ganguli, Patrick Gaulé, and Geoff Smith
This paper studies the impact of U.S. immigration barriers on global knowledge production. We present four key findings. First, among Nobel Prize winners and Fields Medalists, migrants to the U.S. play a central role in the global knowledge network—representing 20-33% of the frontier knowledge producers. Second, using novel survey data and hand-curated life-histories of International Math Olympiad (IMO) medalists, we show that migrants to the U.S. are up to six times more productive than migrants to other countries—even after accounting for talent during one’s teenage years. Third, financing costs are a key factor preventing foreign talent from migrating abroad to pursue their dream careers, particularly for talent from developing countries. Fourth, certain ‘push’ incentives that reduce immigration barriers—by addressing financing constraints for top foreign talent—could increase the global scientific output of future cohorts by 42 percent. We concludeby discussing policy options for the U.S. and the global scientific community.
Arina Viseth
This paper uses census and household survey data on Cameroon, Ghana, and South Africa to examine immigration’s impact in the context of a segmented labor market in Sub-Saharan Africa. We find that immigration affects (i) employment (ii) employment allocation between informal and formal sectors, and (iii) the type of employment within each sector. The direction of the impact depends on the degree of complementarity between immigrants and native workers’ skills. Immigration is found to be productivity-enhancing in the short to near term in countries where, the degree of complementarity between immigrants and native workers’ skill sets is the highest.
Mr. Tamim Bayoumi and Jelle Barkema
Using bilateral data on migration across US metro areas, we find strong evidence that increasing house price and income inequality has reduced long distance migration, the type most linked to jobs. For those migrating uphill, from a less to a more prosperous location, lower mobility is driven by increasing house price inequlity, as the disincentives from higher house prices dominate the incentives from higher earnings. By contrast, increasing income inequality drives the fall in downhill migration as the disincentives from lower earnings dominate the incentives from lower house prices. The model underlines the plight of those trapped in decaying metro areas—those “left behind”.
Lucy Qian Liu
This paper studies the main factors that explain the low regional mobility in Spain, with a view to identifying policy options at the regional and central level to promote labor mobility. The empirical analysis finds that house prices, labor market conditions, and the pervasiveness of labor market duality at the regional level are the main determinants for Spain’s regional mobility, while labor market institutions and policies play an important role at the national level. Policies that facilitate wage setting flexibility and reduce labor market duality could help enhance the functioning of the labor market, thereby promoting labor mobility. There may be also room for policies to incentivize people to move and provide support through targeted active labor market policies.