Published on People Move

Are High Global Oil Prices Influencing Migration Patterns?

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(Zhimei Xu contributed to this post)

Oil prices increased from $26/barrel in early 2001 to over $130/barrel in June 2008, vastly enriching some countries flush with natural resources. Rising prices may affect migration patterns from origin countries in South and Southeast Asia, most noticeably away from the United States and towards the oil-rich Middle East countries.

We’ve noted some evidence that seems to support this view, at least for the few countries for which remittances data is available by source country, such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, which track flows from the US, Europe, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The numbers from Bangladesh and Pakistan reveal that remittances from the US and Europe have increased but at a slower pace than remittances from the GCC countries. 


Interestingly, the increase in remittances from the GCC countries mirrors the rise in the oil price for Bangladesh and Pakistan.







Sanket Mohapatra

Associate Professor, IIM Ahmedabad

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