Political economy research recognizes that the inflows of external financial resources help the governments enact market-oriented reforms. Since remittances have outpaced other types of financial inflows in many countries, they can potentially increase the government’s incentive to implement regulatory reform that can contribute to business-friendly environment. This issue has long been overlooked by the literature on remittances. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether remittances promote business regulatory reform in the recipient countries.
This study uses balance of payments data on remittances for 114 countries during 2004-2012 period. Since remittances could be endogenous to business regulation, the identification strategy follows an instrumental variable approach. The author assesses the general stability of linear model estimates by fitting the beta regression model.
The results show that, while the increase in remittance inflows is associated with lower regulatory requirements for starting a business in the recipient economy, this association is stronger in developing countries than in high-income nations. Various sensitivity tests reinforce the robustness of these findings.
One of the most important yet overlooked aspects of remittances is that they can potentially shape the political will to enact regulatory reform for businesses. The incentives for the government to relax burdensome entry regulations tend to stem from potential gains associated with the formalization of remittances. This paper makes a first attempt at studying the link between remittances and the quality of entry regulation.
The author would like to thank Dr Feng Yao, Dr Stratford Douglas, Dr Arabinda Basistha, and two anonymous referees for their valuable comments and suggestions.
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