Ralph Chami: Avoiding the Remittance Trap

August 30, 2018

Beirut, Lebanon. While remittances have helped the Lebanese economy absorb shocks, there is no evidence that they have served as an engine of growth. (iStock by Getty images/ramzihachicho)

In This Episode

Few would argue that workers’ remittances—the money migrants send to family in their home country—improve the lives of millions of people. Remittances amounted to over $400 billion last year. That’s somewhere between official development assistance and foreign direct investment in terms of size. These massive financial flows have important consequences for the economies that receive them. But in this podcast, IMF economist Ralph Chami says remittances can also have a negative impact on growth. Chami is coauthor, with Ekkehard Ernst, Connel Fullenkamp, and Anne Oeking, of Is There a Remittance Trap featured in the September 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.

Ralph Chami, is an assistant director in the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development.

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Bruce Edwards

International Monetary Fund

Bruce Edwards produces the IMF podcast program. He's an award-winning audio producer and journalist who's covered armed conflicts, social unrest, and natural disasters from all corners of the world. He believes economists have an important role in solving the world's problems and aspires to showcase their research in every IMF podcast.

Rhoda Metcalfe


Rhoda Metcalfe is an independent journalist and audio producer. Her reporting on the armed conflict in Colombia in the late 90s, as well as her work in Egypt, Turkey and South Africa has won several awards. She now produces podcasts and radio features from Washington DC and is a regular contributor to the IMF Podcast program.