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.
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.
This Selected Issues paper examines inflation dynamics over the past five years for Lithuania. A decomposition of inflation into its components provides clues to its main causes. It shows that energy price increases and convergence to European Union (EU)-wide price levels have been important factors driving inflation, but domestic demand pressures—and wage growth, in particular—have also contributed to inflation. The types of possible efficiency gains are illustrated in the context of health care and social assistance. The paper also examines migration and its long-term fiscal implications.