The Remitting Patterns of African Migrants in the OECD

50 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Albert Bollard

Albert Bollard

Stanford University

David J. McKenzie

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Melanie Morten

Yale University

Date Written: April 1, 2010


Recorded remittances to Africa have grown dramatically over the past decade. Yet data limitations still mean relatively little is known about which migrants remit, how much they remit, and how their remitting behavior varies with gender, education, income levels, and duration abroad. This paper constructs the most comprehensive remittance database on immigrants in the OECD currently available, containing microdata on more than 12,000 African immigrants. Using this microdata the authors establish several basic facts about the remitting patterns of Africans, and then explore how key characteristics of policy interest relate to remittance behavior. Africans are found to remit twice as much on average as migrants from other developing countries, and those from poorer African countries are more likely to remit than those from richer African countries. Male migrants remit more than female migrants, particularly among those with a spouse remaining in the home country; more-educated migrants remit more than less educated migrants; and although the amount remitted increases with income earned, the gradient is quite flat over a large range of income. Finally, there is little evidence that the amount remitted decays with time spent abroad, with reductions in the likelihood of remitting offset by increases in the amount remitted conditional on remitting.

Keywords: Population Policies, Remittances, Gender and Development, Debt Markets, International Migration

Suggested Citation

Bollard, Albert and McKenzie, David John and Morten, Melanie, The Remitting Patterns of African Migrants in the OECD (April 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5260, Available at SSRN:

Albert Bollard (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

David John McKenzie

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Melanie Morten

Yale University

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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