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Revisiting the Effects of Remittances on Bank Credit: A Macro Perspective

Richard Brown () and Fabrizio Carmignani ()

Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 2015, vol. 62, issue 5, 454-485

Abstract: type="main" xml:id="sjpe12086-abs-0001"> We investigate the effect of remittances on bank credit in developing countries. Understanding this link is important in view of the growing relevance of remittances as a source of external finance and of the beneficial impact that financial intermediation is likely to have on economic growth. Our contribution is twofold. First, we present a theoretical model of bank credit in a hypothetical remittances-receiving country where: (1) the banking sector is imperfectly competitive; and (2) bank rates change infrequently because of the presence of adjustment costs. We show that in equilibrium, the relationship between remittances and bank-credit is likely to be non-linear. Second, we look at the evidence using a panel data set for a large group of developing and emerging economies over the period 1970–2009. We find that at initially low levels of remittances, an increase in remittances reduces the volume of credit extended by banks. However, at sufficiently high levels of remittances, the effect becomes positive. The turning point of the relationship occurs at a level of remittances of about 2.5% of GDP, which would imply that approximately 50% of our sample lies to each side of this threshold.

Date: 2015
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