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Remittances and Poverty in Ghana

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World Bank, Washington, DC
Africa | Ghana
2012-06-22T15:26:15Z | 2012-06-22T15:26:15Z | 2006-02

The author uses a large, nationally representative household survey to analyze the impact of internal remittances (from Ghana) and international remittances (from African and other countries) on poverty in Ghana. With only one exception, he finds that both types of remittances reduce the level, depth, and severity of poverty in Ghana. But the size of the poverty reduction depends on how poverty is being measured. The author finds that poverty is reduced more when international, as opposed to internal, remittances are included in household income, and when poverty is measured by the more sensitive poverty measures-poverty gap and squared poverty gap. For example, the squared poverty gap measure shows that including international remittances in household expenditure (income) reduces the severity of poverty by 34.8 percent, while including internal remittances in such income reduces the severity of poverty by only 4.1 percent. International remittances reduce the severity of poverty more than internal remittances because of the differential impact of these two types of remittances on poor households. Households in the poorest decile group receive 22.7 percent of their total household expenditure (income) from international remittances, as opposed to only 13.8 percent of such income from internal remittances. When these "poorest of the poor" households receive international remittances, their income status changes dramatically and this in turn has a large effect on any poverty measure-like the squared poverty gap-that considers both the number and distance of poor households beneath the poverty line.

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