OECD Development Centre Working Papers

The OECD Development Centre links OECD members with developing and emerging economies and fosters debate and discussion to seek creative policy solutions to emerging global issues and development challenges. This series of working papers is intended to disseminate the OECD Development Centre’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned. These papers are generally available in the original English or French, with a summary in the other language.

English, French

Are Workers' Remittances Relevant for Credit Rating Agencies?

Remittance flows are an important source of financing for developing countries. In addition to the microeconomic impact at the household level, remittances have grown into an important pillar of macroeconomic stability, reducing volatility of external flows, lessening the probability of current account reversals, thus strengthening creditworthiness. By studying 83 developing countries covering the period 1993-2006, we analyse the impact of workers’ remittances on sovereign rating assessment. First, we look at the traditional determinants of sovereign ratings and assess to what extent remittances are taken into account. Second, we build a model for high-remittance receptors to capture the potential effect that remittances may have on Fitch, Moody’s and S&P ratings. Third, we assign ratings to unrated Latin American countries for which remittance flows are generally high. Our conclusion supports the view that credit rating agencies (CRAs) do take remittance flows into account to rate sovereigns. Nevertheless, this variable turns out to be significant for a limited set of countries, small in size and classified in the low and middle income categories. We derive policy implications and recommendations from our findings for boosting rating coverage.


Keywords: emerging and developing capital markets, sovereign risk, sovereign ratings, remittances
JEL: G24: Financial Economics / Financial Institutions and Services / Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage; Ratings and Ratings Agencies; O11: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development / Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development; F24: International Economics / International Factor Movements and International Business / Remittances; F3: International Economics / International Finance
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