Remittances and Bribery in Africa

Maty Konte & Gideon Ndubuisi


This paper examines the effects of remittances on bribe payments to public officials to access public goods and services in Africa. We argue that migrant remittances may affect bribery among remittance recipients through the income and norm channels. Using Afrobarometer surveys administered in thirty-six African countries between 2004 and 2016, we find that remittance receivers are more prone to bribe payment than non-receivers. More importantly, we find that individuals who live in countries with higher levels of remittances as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) are more likely to pay bribes than individuals from countries with lower remittances as a share of GDP, which supports the income channel. However, the positive link between remittances and bribery diminishes in countries with a high level of control over corruption. When looking at the stock of migrants living abroad, we find that citizens from African countries that record a high stock of migrants living in OECD countries are less likely to pay bribe than citizens from African countries with lower level of stock of migrants in OECD countries. This finding is in line with the norm channel, but more data are needed for a better understanding of this mechanism.

Keywords: Remittances, Bribery, Africa, SDGs

JEL Classification: F24, O55

Download the working paper