Even as the US media is in a frenzy about comprehensive immigration reforms - long overdue, but in terms of detail, still more forest than trees - there is another sense of urgency about how might migration feature in the post-2015 development goals (see my earlier blog).
Migrant workers, earning money in jobs far from home, sent more than $400 billion to their families back home in 2012. Such remittances remain a vital source of income for millions of people in developing countries: Food, housing, education, health care and more are paid for every day by workers who earn money abroad. Through a simple and repetitive transaction – sending money home – those workers are really sending heart-warming feelings like hope for a better future and love of family.
Remittances sent by migrant workers have emerged as a key driver of poverty reduction in many developing countries. Bangladesh has caught up with growing migration trends since the mid-70s when only 6,000 Bangladeshis were working abroad. Today, there are about 8 million. Migration has now become a major source of gainful employment for Bangladesh’s growing number of unemployed and under-employed labor force. The sharpest increase in the level of manpower exports occurred during 2006--2009. Remittances have grown at a rapid pace, particularly since 2004.
So, what are the key correlates of aggregate remittance inflows in Bangladesh? What does the data tell us about Bangladesh? Many researchers have used aggregate data to analyze the macro-economic factors affecting the behavior of remitters. For example, Barua et al (2007) show that income differentials between host and home country and devaluation of home country currency positively and high inflation rate in home country negatively affect workers’ remittances1. Hasan (2008) finds remittances respond positively to home interest rate and incomes in host countries2. Ordinary Least Squares estimation is frequently used to characterize the statistical relationships between aggregate remittance inflows and their proximate macro correlates.
The key finding is that a limited number of macroeconomic factors are important in predicting the behavior of aggregate remittances.
Preparations are underway for the 6th International Conference on Migration and Development, which will be held in Morocco on May 18-19, 2013.
A call for papers is now open, with a January 31, 2013 deadline.
Duncan: Great intro to the Milanovic paper, Ricardo, but there’s plenty more juice to be had, I think. First let’s take a closer look at the graph you put up of change in global real income 1988-2008 (below). As well as the spike of the top 1% (and do we know whether the financial crisis has moderated or amplified the spike?), the bit that jumps out at me is the stagnation of incomes above the 75th percentile. For that portion of the world’s population in the top quarter of the income bracket, but below the super-rich 1%, the last 20 years have been pretty terrible.
On the eve of the international migrants day, many people are debating how migration might feature in the post-2015 development goals. There is no doubt that migration - international and internal - affects several of the current MDGs: poverty, education, health of children and mothers, environment, gender, and also several elements of a global public good such a role in financial and natural crisis. Migration directly impacts the migrants, their families and their employers, and also impacts development indirectly. Development in turn impacts migration. There is no doubt that migration is a very important driver of development. And yet, since it directly challenges national identity and sovereignty, it is not easy to arrive at a consensus on specific migration targets.
Several countries around the world (notably Australia and Canada) have migration points systems- score above some points threshold and you can come in, score below and you can’t. This has intrigued me with the possibility of a regression-discontinuity design to measure impacts of migrating. However, there are several problems – the points given tend to be lumpy (e.g.
I just attended the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)in Mauritius last November 21 -22, 2012. It was the first time that the GFMD was chaired by an African country. It was also the first time that the World Bank was invited to be a presenter (we are only observers in these meetings) in the Round Table - Supporting Migrants and Diaspora as Agents of Socioeconomic Change, co chaired by France, Kenya and Morocco. The Bank also wrote jointly with IFAD and IOM the background paper for this session.
In order to provide an ownership structure in Pakistan for remittance facilitation, State Bank of Pakistan (the central bank), Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Ministry of Finance launched a joint initiative called Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) in early 2009. This initiative has been taken to achieve the objectives of (a) facilitating and supporting efficient flow of workers’ remittances and (b) catering for other financial services needs of Overseas Pakistanis and their families back home.
Thank you to all who attended yesterday’s live seminar/webinar on the ‘Latest Trends in Migration and Remittance Flows Worldwide’. The session focused on the continued resilience of remittance flows to the developing world, and globally, despite the continued fallout from the global financial crisis. In my presentation, I reported on the latest trends in remittances and migration flows and discuss a new World Bank initiative on migration and development, the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD).
Many of you have requested a copy of my powerpoint presentation from the session, so here it is.