The Effects of the Gulf War on Migration and Remittances

18 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2010

See all articles by Hisham S. Foad

Hisham S. Foad

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 2009


A key feature of the regional economy in the Middle East and North Africa is the flow of migrants from resource poor, but labor abundant countries to the resource rich nations of the Persian Gulf. These workers send remittances back home in large quantities, in some cases exceeding the value of home country exports. The 1990-1991 Gulf War disrupted this dynamic as hundreds of thousands of migrants returned to their native countries, leading to significant decreases in remittance flows to these nations. Using a panel VAR analysis, I show that remittance inflows to the labor exporting countries in the region have a significant yet temporary impact on GDP growth. The major reductions in remittances during the Gulf War were at least partially responsible for the economic downturns suffered by many nations in the region during this period. This result is relevant today as the global financial crisis of 2008 has led to a similar downturn in remittance flows from the Gulf nations.

Keywords: Gulf War, Remittances, Panel VAR

JEL Classification: F22, N15, N45

Suggested Citation

Foad, Hisham S., The Effects of the Gulf War on Migration and Remittances (December 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Hisham S. Foad (Contact Author)

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

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