Do Remittances Reduce Poverty? Evidence From Surveys in Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Last updated September 2009

Bruno Schoumaker

At the macro level, recent research has demonstrated a positive impact of remittances on poverty reduction in developing countries (Adams and Page, 2005; Gupta et al., 2009). While these results suggest that poor households benefit from remittances, they were obtained with aggregate data and are not transferable at the household level. Research on the impact of remittances on households has provided mixed results. Some authors emphasize that migration is highly selective, and that rich households are more likely to send migrants and benefit from remittances (Lipton, 1980; Stahl, 1982). As a result, migration would essentially increase inequalities in origin countries. Other more recent works show positive impacts of remittances on poverty reduction (in Mexico: Stark and Taylor, 1989; in rural Egypt: Adams, 1991; in Ghana: Adams, 2006). However, these studies are often done on small samples, and few of them are on Africa.

The objective of this presentation is to provide preliminary results on this question, using the MAFE (Migration Between Africa and Europe) surveys conducted in Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

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Bruno Schoumaker,, Université Catholique de Louvain