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A Labor Mobility Agenda for Development

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  • Michael Clemens

Abstract

Rich countries have made efforts for half a century to help people in poor countries catch up to rich-country standards of living. Those efforts have included giving foreign aid, encouraging overseas investment, dismantling trade barriers, and spreading ideas and institutions. That is, their international development policy has been to encourage the globalization of almost all factors of production—except labor. So far, this policy has failed to cause the living standards of most people in most developing countries to converge with living standards in rich countries. But the globalization of labor—greater mobility for workers across borders—quickly and massively raises migrants’ living standards toward those of rich countries. This paper argues that every rich country should consider its immigration policy to be part of its international development policy, and vice versa. A development policy that includes migration will be more effective; an immigration policy that includes development will better serve rich countries’ ideals and interests. The paper also gives a non-technical review of new research on several common objections to unifying development policy and migration policy. One concrete way forward is for rich countries to greatly open up legal pathways for temporary labor movement.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 201.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:201

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Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

Related research

Keywords: international development; immigration policy; labor; migration;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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Cited by:
  1. Ratha, Dilip & Mohapatra, Sanket & Scheja, Elina, 2011. "Impact of migration on economic and social development : a review of evidence and emerging issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5558, The World Bank.

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