Does Citizenship in a Host Country Influence Remittance Behavior? An analysis of Ghanaians living in the US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands
The World Bank estimates that in 2007, immigrants in developed countries sent $240 billion back to developing countries. This money was an important source of revenue for individual households and also for the economies of the receiving countries. However, some observers contend that remittances are actually an impediment to economic and social development. Small countries such as Ghana, they argue, are disproportionably impacted by skilled migration. With remittances accounting for nearly 14 percent of its GDP, by some estimates, the Ghanaian government recently has articulated policies meant to encourage more remittances and harness international migration, including encouraging Ghanaians living abroad to apply for citizenship in their host country while maintaining their Ghanaian citizenship. The following analysis evaluates the likely effect of this policy. Using the results of surveys conducted of nearly 1200 Ghanaians living abroad who remit in four countries the US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands the analysis examines whether having citizenship in a host country has any relationship with the total amount remitted back to Ghana. It finds that Ghanaians who are citizens in a host country give, on average 9 percent less in annual remittances. Thus, the dual citizenship policy by itself is not an effective tool to encourage more remittances; the government should consider coupling this policy with other policies aimed at strengthening migrants perceived connections with Ghana.
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