Immigration policies are often driven by prejudices. In a recent paper, we argue that immigration prejudices in receiving economies tend to be self-fulfilling. In particular, anti-immigrant attitudes sustain restrictive policies that lower the economic benefits of immigration by reducing the quality of the migrant labor force, thus reinforcing initial prejudices. This suggests that immigration reforms in receiving economies, such as the one presently discussed in the U.S., have long term economic implications. We elaborate on this point in three simple steps.
Extensive thought has been devoted to aid and development and to migration and development. We have thought less however about whether migration could replace development aid, how far and in what conditions. In a book I have just written called, “Development Without Aid: The Decline of Development Aid and the Rise of the Diaspora” (Anthem Press) I try to provide answers.
The principal objection to the replacement idea is that, predominantly, migrant remittances go to private consumption not to investment in public goods. Yet there is much evidence that aid itself has done a poor job on public goods and gets diverted into (conspicuous) consumption, whereas a diaspora can, in fact, provide public goods, while the consumption it generates goes more to basic needs.
My instincts about the problems of development aid grew up with me in British Colonial Nyasaland; deep down therefore the book is based on hunch as much as evidence. But there is much evidence - manifested in well-documented problems of aid fragmentation, dependence, the breakdown of links between governors and governed, clientelism and inducement to corruption. Other systemic issues arise such as the Resource Curse whereby high Aid-to-GNI ratios bid up exchange rates and undermine exports. But beyond these issues the problems of aid are fundamentally about power relationships and ‘ownership’.
The Migration and Development Brief 20 issued on April 19, 2013 contained a tabulation error in Table 1 of page 11. This affects the estimates highlighted below, which were shifted by one year. For example, the remittance inflows for the World in 2012 were reported as $514 billion, instead of $529 billion.
The Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) is shifting gears --- it has officially graduated from inception phase to being operational. An official launch event is being organized today, on the sidelines of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International monetary Fund (IMF). We’ve also held a meeting of the chairs and co-chairs of KNOMAD’s thematic working groups and will soon share with you the way forward.
We will launch the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) on Friday April 19th, on the sidelines of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF. At this event we will also present the new Migration and Development Brief with the latest data and outlook for migration and remittance flows worldwide.
It was early 2001, I think, when I got a call inquiring about future-flow securitization of remittances. She was preparing for a talk at the UN, the caller said, and she was intrigued by yet another way in which remittances impact the migrants’ country of origin. That was two years before I began my research on remittances. The caller that day was Dr. Sharon Stanton Russell, a pioneer in the field of remittances and migration, a mainstay of migration studies at MIT and the Inter-University Committee on International Migration (IUCIM).
Sharon passed away on February 27, 2013. More than 300 people attended her funeral on March 23.
In 2010, I wrote a blog on the situation of the H1-B visas. At that time, the slow recovery of the US economy was affecting the hiring of high-skilled immigrants. Now, that the U.S.
In the run up to the UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development that will take place in October 2013, there is a lot of discussion among migration experts on how migration might feature in the post-2015 development agenda. A foremost spokesperson for the migration community is Peter Sutherland, Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and the London School of Economics, and UN Special Representative for International Migration and Development (and former Director General of the World Trade Organization, EU Commissioner for Competition, and Attorney General of Ireland) has published a very timely, useful and well-written op-ed today, titled "Migration is Development". He writes,
"To succeed, the post-2015 agenda must break the original mold. It must be grounded in a fuller narrative about how development occurs – a narrative that accounts for complex issues such as migration. Otherwise, the global development agenda could lose its relevance, and thus its grip on stakeholders....[M]igration is the original strategy for people seeking to escape poverty, mitigate risk, and build a better life."
Standard trade literature tends to view migration and trade as substitutes. In that framework, either workers migrate to satisfy foreign demand or foreign demand is satisfied by trading goods and services. There is a growing literature, however, emphasizing that migrant networks facilitate bilateral economic transactions by disseminating their preferences for goods from their country of origin and/or by removing informational and cultural barriers between hosts and origin countries. In this case, migration would reduce transaction costs associated with trade and may be a complement rather than a substitute to trade.
A heads up about this upcoming event. This conference, the first in the GCC region to my knowledge, will bring together governments, experts and practitioners from Asia and other parts of the world, to stimulate greater regional interest and engagement in the global dialogue on migration and development. It is expected to bring innovative ideas and research to the regional debates and programs; and strengthen the knowledge and capacity of the regional actors to conduct research and lead inter-agency policy discussion in the filed of labor mobility.