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Paul Colier

Collier–Sandefur Debate on Migration – What is the Question Please?

Christian Eigen-Zucchi's picture

Paul Collier and Justin Sandefur are discussing migration with recent postings on the popular From Poverty to Power blog hosted by Duncan Green of OXFAM.  But, can we please first agree on the question?

Collier’s blog-post starts with the question of how emigration affects people in countries of origin, and goes on to emphasize that the pertinent issue is “whether poor countries would be better off with somewhat faster, or somewhat slower emigration than they have currently.” His answer, in a nutshell, is that it depends: on the country of origin (“in small countries that are falling further behind … brain drain predominates” when there is further skilled migration) and the emigrant (students – good, unskilled – fine, skilled worker – may already be excessive). To this, one could also add that it depends on the host country (and the scope for migrants realizing their potential there) and the circumstances of the migration (voluntary or forced).