Despite the large and growing literatures on migration in economics, sociology, and other social sciences, there is surprisingly little work which actually evaluates the impact of particular migration policies (most of the literature concerns the determinants of migrating, and the consequences of doing so for the migrants, their families, and for native workers). I am therefore always interested to see new work in this area, particularly work which manages to obtain experimental variation in policy implementation.
Originally posted on Matthew Kahn's personal blog: http://greeneconomics.blogspot.com/
At the World Bank yesterday, I learned about this impressive project. While there are a lot of papers to choose from at this website, the "big picture" is sketched below in the report's Executive Summary.
The following is a direct quote:
"This report considers migration in the context of environmental change over the next 50 years.
The scope of this report is international: it examines global migration trends, but also internal migration trends particularly within low-income countries, which are often more important in this context.
Last year 14 million people around the world applied for the 50,000 green cards available through the U.S. Diversity Visa lottery, commonly known as the Green Card lottery.
Perhaps the toughest challenge faced by developed and developing countries alike is the governance of international labor migration. Some countries have developed useful mechanisms that foster economic growth and migrant integration into host societies. But in the United States, a well-informed, high level debate about how to improve employment-based migration management is conspicuously absent from the public discourse. Discussion in the media and debates in Congress typically focus narrowly on the concerns of employers who argue, for example, in favor of raising the numerical limits on two or three temporary visa categories, or those pushing for increased enforcement measures for irregular migrants.
The Economic Policy Institute’s new book, Value-Added Immigration: Lessons for the United States from Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, uses a comparative methodology to help fill this gap in the policy debate on labor migration in the United States. Authored by Ray Marshall, the U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Carter, it suggests how the United States could improve its own system based upon the best practices found in Australia, Canada, and the U.K. These three countries – while far from perfect – have evolved and adapted their migration governance to further a value-added strategy, i.e., one that seeks to improve productivity and innovation and fill labor shortages. They also do a better job of protecting the labor rights of foreign and native workers.
We have updated the data on worldwide remittance flows - including flows to developing countries and high income countries - to $483 billion in 2011. Of this, developing countries received $351 billion in 2011. Worldwide remittance flows are expected to reach $593 billion in 2014.
Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have reached $351 billion in 2011, up 8 percent over 2010 (See brief).
For the first time since the global financial crisis, remittance flows to all six developing regions rose in 2011. Growth of remittances in 2011 exceeded our earlier expectations in four regions, especially in Europe and Central Asia (due to higher outward flows from Russia that benefited from high oil prices) and Sub-Saharan Africa (due to strong south-south flows and weaker currencies in some countries that attracted larger remittances). By contrast, growth in remittance flows to Latin America and Caribbean was lower than previously expected, due to continuing weakness in the U.S. economy and Spain. Flows to Middle East and Africa were also impacted by the “Arab Spring”.
While we know a lot about the impact of remittances on growth, investment, poverty, inequality, health, and education, the potential effects of international remittances on the domestic financial system and financial inclusion have not received much attention. There are several ways in which remittances could affect financial inclusion (that is, facilitating households’ access to and use of financial services). First, remittances might increase the demand for savings instruments. The fixed costs of sending remittances make the flows lumpy, providing households with excess cash for some period of time. This might potentially increase their demands for deposit accounts, since financial institutions offer households a safe place to store this temporary excess cash. Second, remittances might increase household’s likelihood of obtaining a loan. Processing remittances flows provides financial institutions with information on the income of recipient households. This information might make financial institutions more willing and able to extend loans to otherwise opaque borrowers. On the other hand, since remittances might help relax households’ financing constraints, the demand for credit might fall as remittances increase.