|With remittances expected to reach a total of $167 billion worldwide in 2005, they have become a serious consideration for monetary aid to developing countries. Migration not only generates benefits for the host economy, but through remittances creates a stabilizing and targeted flow of cash to the country of origin. On November 21, 2005, a panel on “Global Economic Prospects 2006: Economic Implications of Remittances and Migration,” organized by the InfoShop, outlined and discussed these issues for an audience in the Eugene Black Auditorium of the World Bank headquarters.
The program was chaired and introduced by Francois Bourguignon, Chief Economist for the World Bank. Hans Timmer, Lead Economist of Global Trends for the Bank, shared three findings with the audience: production growth is high on average in developing countries, high oil prices may be dangerous for low-income countries, and instabilities in financial markets (such as interest rates) remain worrying. William Shaw, former Lead Economist for the International Finance Team of the Bank, focused on migration and development. Shaw noted the rise in migration over the last three decades, tied it to substantial gains in welfare for the world, and distinguished between low- and high-skilled immigration gains. Dilip Ratha, Senior Economist for the Development Prospects Group, spoke on the development prospects of remittances. Remittances have increased with migration, and their effectiveness could be increased with careful policy choices, stated Ratha.
A lengthy question and answer session discussed the costs of remittances, lessons learned regarding temporary migration, and social disruption created by migration.