Migrant remittances--or the money migrants send to friends and family in their countries of origin--make up one of the largest international financial flows to developing countries, says Dean Yang. Yet, we are still learning how different policies might affect the impact remittances have on international development.
With a $430,000 sub-grant from Innovations for Poverty Action, Yang will lead a new research study designed to test the impact of allowing migrants to label their remittances, targeting them to support a student’s educational expenses. In a pilot project completed by Yang and colleagues in Rome, simply allowing migrants to label their remittances resulted in increased remittances sent. Yang hypothesizes that the ability to direct remittances toward specific uses--educational expenses, entrepreneurial ventures, and more--could help increase their development impact.
If research proves that labeling increases remittances and their development impact, Yang hopes simple remittance labeling systems could be scaled to serve hundreds of millions of migrants, and their friends and families, worldwide.