Pacific remittances: channels, costs, and the potential gains from switching

Crawford School of Public Policy | Development Policy Centre

Event details


Date & time

Friday 01 March 2024


Crawford School / UPNG / Zoom


Ryan Edwards (Development Policy Centre), Hiroshi Maeda and Daniel Suryadarma (Asian Development Bank Institute)


Chloe Sim

New research combines survey data and an audit of remittance costs to examine the Pacific remittance market, with a focus on the Australia-Tonga and New Zealand-Tonga corridors as case studies. We find that, contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of low-cost options for remitting to Tonga, and that cost rankings are generally stable over time. Importantly, these two stylized facts generally hold true for other Pacific countries.

Households’ remittance channel choices lead to higher realised costs due to the gap between high and low-cost remittance service providers (RSPs). Tongans mainly choose higher-cost RSPs because of their perceived ease of use but can gain more than 2% by switching to the lowest-cost RSP. A natural shift from cash to online transfers and mobile money is mostly explained by exposure and information: migration experience, regular remittances, and being from the more developed main island. Together, the gains from switching and malleability of choice highlight the large unrealized gains from interventions to help people quickly shift to lower-cost RSPs.

The monthly ANU-UPNG seminar series is part of the partnership between the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and the UPNG, supported by the PNG-Aus Partnership.

The seminar is held as a joint event with participants able to join in-person either at Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU or at the MBA Suite, SBPP Building, UPNG or online via Zoom.

1.30pm - 2.30pm (AEST) and 12.30pm - 1.30pm (PGT)

Updated:  18 July 2024/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team