Dean Yang

GIF - Labeled Remittances

Research Project Description

We test the impact of providing migrant workers with an improved ability to direct remittances to educational uses. Migrant remittances are one of the largest international financial flows to developing countries but we are still learning what policies might increase their development impact. Remittances may have greater impact when migrants are able to direct them towards specific uses by recipients. In a pilot project in Rome, we tested approaches to increasing Filipino workers' remittances for education, and found that simply providing migrants an ability to label remittances for education significantly raised total remittances. On top of the label, there was only a minor and statistically insignificant additional increase in remittances when migrants could send remittances directly to schools, bypassing the beneficiary household. Because remitting directly to schools is a more complex arrangement, labeling remittances for education therefore may be a more scalable innovation for enhancing the development impact of remittances. Labeling a remittance transaction can take different forms, depending on how funds are delivered. If delivered in cash, the label will be in paper form. For remittances delivered directly to bank accounts, labeling will be via phone text messages or emails. We propose to assess the impact of providing migrants the ability to label remittances as intended for the educational expenses of a student in the recipient household. The team leading the innovations consists of the same partners that ran the pilot program in Rome?including the Bank of Philippine Islands and the international team of researchers. The immediate impact will be on the migrant study participants and their households. Evidence on the impact of this innovation could eventually lead to a product that serves hundreds of millions of migrants and their families worldwide.

Global Innovation Fund
(subcontract: Sub-Grant Agreement)

Funding Period: 6/1/2017 to 4/30/2021

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