The Propensity to Remit: Macro and Micro Factors Driving Remittances to Central America and the Caribbean


Hussein Bidawi ; Paola Aliperti F. Domingues ; Chiara Fratto ; Nicole Laframboise

Publication Date:

September 30, 2022

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.


In contrast to expectations, remittances to Central America and the Caribbean (CAC) surprised positively during 2020 and 2021. This study revisits the key macro indicators driving remittances, looks at the heterogeneous impacts of the global financial crisis (GFC) and COVID shocks, then uses micro data from the U.S. Current Population Census to examine individual features of immigrant households and how this might affect the “propensity to remit”. The paper finds that remittance flows are responsive to both sending and receiving country economic conditions and that labor market conditions are particularly important determinants of remittance flows, explaining the unexpected jump in remittance flows in 2020-2021 and providing stronger predictive power when combined with income variables. Analysis of the micro data reinforces these findings, reflecting the existence of a family resource sharing model at play.


Working Paper No. 2022/203




Publication Date:

September 30, 2022



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