International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper on Nepal measures the extent to which Nepal’s households change their expenditure patterns and labor supply in response to remittances, using the Nepal Household Risk and Vulnerability Survey—2016 and employing a propensity score matching method. This study provides stylized facts on migrant workers and remittance-recipient households (HH), and then analyzes the effect of remittances on HHs' expenditure patterns and labor supply. Reliance on remittances, both at the macro and household levels, makes Nepal highly vulnerable to shifts that could diminish remittance inflows. The slowdown in growth of remittances has been significant since 2016, owing to weak economic performance in major remittance-sending economies and less outward migration. This study also analyzes the effect of remittances on labor market participation of left behind household heads, using a propensity score matching method. The results show that remittances have supported greater consumption of productive goods (such as durable goods, education and health), without discouraging labor supply of remittance-receiving family members.
Ms. Manuela Goretti, Mr. Daisaku Kihara, Mr. Ranil M Salgado, and Ms. Anne Marie Gulde
Since the mid-1980s, durable reforms coupled with prudent macroeconomic management have brought steady progress to the South Asia region, making it one of the world’s fastest growing regions. Real GDP growth has steadily increased from an average of about 3 percent in the 1970s to 7 percent over the last decade. Although growth trajectories varied across countries, reforms supported strong per capita income growth in the region, lifting over 200 million people out of poverty in the last three decades. Today, South Asia accounts for one-fifth of the world’s population and, thanks to India’s increasing performance, contributes to over 15 percent of global growth.
Looking ahead, the authors find that South Asia is poised to play an even bigger role in the global economy, in both relative and absolute terms. India has overtaken China as the fastest growing large economy and South Asia’s contribution to global growth is set to increase, while more mature economies decelerate. Greater economic diversification, with an expansion of the service sector, improvements in education, and a still sizable demographic dividend are among the key elements underpinning this performance.
Based on demographic trends, more than 150 million people in the region are expected to enter the labor market by 2030. This young and large workforce can be South Asia’s strength, if supported by a successful high-quality and job-rich growth strategy. Amid a changing global economic landscape, the authors argue that South Asia will need to leverage on all sectors of the economy in a balanced way, supporting improvements in agricultural productivity and a sustainable expansion of manufacturing, while promoting higher-skill services, to achieve this goal.
This Selected Issues paper examines the effect of political instability on economic growth in Nepal. It uses publicly available data on political economy variables for 167 countries worldwide from 1970–2004 to estimate the impact of political instability on growth. The findings reveal that Nepal has witnessed higher political instability compared with other countries in the region. The paper also presents the salient features of political instability and growth for Nepal and other South Asian countries, and the econometric estimates of growth regressions to measure the effect of political instability on economic growth.
An influential theoretical literature has observed that economic diversification can reduce risk and increase financial development. But causality operates in both directions, as a well functioning financial system can enable a society to invest in more productive but risky projects, thereby determining the degree of economic diversification. Thus, ordinary least squares (OLS) estimates of the impact of economic diversification on financial development are likely to be biased. Motivated by the economic geography literature, this paper uses instruments derived from topographical characteristics to estimate the impact of economic diversification on the development of finance. The fourth estimates suggest a large and robust role for diversification in shaping financial development. And these results imply that, by impeding financial sector development, the concentration of economic activity common in developing countries can adversely affect financial and economic development.