This Selected Issues paper analyzes the surprising strength of remittances in Bangladesh and other countries in South Asia and the Philippines in 2009. The empirical analysis suggests that the continued strong growth of remittances in these countries is related to the resilience of non-oil GDP growth in the GCC countries and the surge in the GCC countries’ hiring of migrant workers from South Asia during 2006–08. The remittances-to-GDP ratio in South Asia and the Philippines are likely to remain robust in the near term.
The coexistence of urban and rural poverty and migration to cities is studied in a dual economy model where the acquisition of skills is costly and involves migration to urban areas. In this model, both the distribution of innate abilities and the distribution of wealth matter for the migration decision, and costs of backmigration may produce an urban poverty trap if unemployment lowers household wealth below the cost of skills acquisition.
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