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Wellalage, H.W. and Locke, S. (2020). Remittance and financial inclusion in refugee migrants: inverse probability of treatment weighting using the propensity score. Applied Economics52(9), pp.929-950. 


This paper investigates the impact on remittances on financial inclusion of refugee migrants. While financial inclusion is gaining traction in the humanitarian and development literature, the linkage with the potential to improve the wellbeing of refugees, who are part of an upward spiral in numbers, has not been tackled. We examine World Bank survey data of 1041 Syrian refugees, using the inverse probability of treatment weighting propensity score analysis (IPTW). The method minimises the influence of outliers and addresses unobservable and missing data biases, which can plague survey based data. We observe that common indicators of financial inclusion when applied to refugees, given their limited access to formal financial services, may introduce a bias as the informal financial sector and excluded formal financial sector services do contribute to inclusiveness. We adopt a broader protocol for our data, measuring financial inclusion through six metrics stemming from G20 proposals. Overall, there is an opportunity to deepen financial inclusion for refugees who receive or send remittances. The possibility of expanding the financial inclusion options, and for this to percolate through to greater social inclusion, proffers practical commercial steps and policy enabling actions.