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Evidence on Policies to Increase the Development Impacts of International Migration

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  • Dean Yang
  • David McKenzie

Abstract

International migration offers individuals and their families the potential to experience immediate and large gains in their incomes, and offers a large number of other positive benefits to the sending communities and countries. However, there are also concerns about potential costs of migration, including concerns about trafficking and human rights, a desire for remittances to be used more effectively, and concerns about externalities from skilled workers being lost. As a result there is increasing interest in policies which can enhance the development benefits of international migration and mitigate these potential costs. We provide a critical review of recent research on the effectiveness of these policies at three stages of the migration process: predeparture, during migration, and directed towards possible return. The existing evidence base suggests some areas of policy success: bilateral migration agreements for countries whose workers have few other migration options, developing new savings and remittance products that allow migrants more control over how their money is used, and some efforts to provide financial education to migrants and their families. Suggestive evidence together with theory offers support for a number of other policies, such as lowering the cost of remittances, reducing passport costs, offering dual citizenship, and removing exit barriers to migration. Research offers reasons to be cautious about some policies such as enforcing strong rights for migrants like high minimum wages. Nevertheless, we find the evidence base to be weak for many policies, with no reliable research on the impact of most return migration programs, nor for whether countries should be trying to induce communal remitting through matching funds.

Suggested Citation

  • Dean Yang & David McKenzie, 2016. "Evidence on Policies to Increase the Development Impacts of International Migration," Working Papers id:10999, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:10999
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Emily A. Beam & David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2016. "Unilateral Facilitation Does Not Raise International Labor Migration from the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(2), pages 323-368.
    2. Sebastian Butschek & Thomas Walter, 2014. "What active labour market programmes work for immigrants in Europe? A meta-analysis of the evaluation literature," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, December.
    3. David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2012. "Experimental Approaches in Migration Studies," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research Methods in Migration, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Catia Batista & Gaia Narciso, 2013. "Migrant remittances and information flows: Evidence from a field experiment," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1306, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    5. Seshan, Ganesh & Yang, Dean, 2014. "Motivating migrants: A field experiment on financial decision-making in transnational households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 119-127.
    6. Michael Clemens & Claudio Montenegro & Lant Pritchett, 2008. "The Place Premium: Wage Differences for Identical Workers across the U.S. Border," Working Papers 148, Center for Global Development.
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    8. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2014. "The Development Impact of a Best Practice Seasonal Worker Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 229-243, May.
    9. Thorsten Beck & Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, 2011. "What Explains the Price of Remittances? An Examination Across 119 Country Corridors," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 105-131, May.
    10. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Bilal Zia, 2014. "The Impact of Financial Literacy Training for Migrants," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 130-161.
    11. Aparicio, Francisco Javier & Meseguer, Covadonga, 2012. "Collective Remittances and the State: The 3×1 Program in Mexican Municipalities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 206-222.
    12. Beauchemin, Cris & Schoumaker, Bruno, 2009. "Are Migrant Associations Actors in Local Development? A National Event-History Analysis in Rural Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 1897-1913, December.
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    17. Kate Ambler & Diego Aycinena & Dean Yang, 2014. "Remittance Responses to Temporary Discounts: A Field Experiment among Central American Migrants," NBER Working Papers 20522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Martin Ruhs, 2013. "The Price of Rights: Regulating International Labor Migration," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10140.
    19. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2012. "The Economic Consequences of ‘Brain Drain’ of the Best and Brightest: Microeconomic Evidence from Five Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 339-375, May.
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    24. Clemens, Michael A. & McKenzie, David, 2014. "Why don't remittances appear to affect growth ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6856, The World Bank.
    25. Doi, Yoko & McKenzie, David & Zia, Bilal, 2012. "Who you train matters : identifying complementary effects of financial education on migrant households," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6157, The World Bank.
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    27. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=8632 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Möllers, Judith & Traikova, Diana & Herzfeld, Thomas & Bajrami, Egzon, 2017. "Study on rural migration and return migration in Kosovo," IAMO Discussion Papers 166, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
    2. repec:wbk:wbpubs:28342 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Phadera, Lokendra, 2016. "International Migration and its Effect on Labor Supply of the Left-Behind Household Members: Evidence from Nepal," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235968, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. World Bank, 2016. "Bangladesh Social Protection and Labor Review," World Bank Other Operational Studies 25265, The World Bank.
    5. Hatzigeorgiou, Andreas & Karpaty, Patrik & Kneller, Richard & Lodefalk, Magnus, 2016. "Do Immigrants Spur Offshoring? Firm-Level Evidence," Working Papers 2016:7, Örebro University, School of Business.
    6. World Bank Group, 2015. "Labor Migration and Welfare in the Kyrgyz Republic (2008-2013)," World Bank Other Operational Studies 22960, The World Bank.
    7. repec:zbw:iamodp:261254 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ahmed, S. Amer & Go,Delfin Sia & Willenbockel,Dirk Andreas, 2016. "Global migration revisited : short-term pains, long-term gains, and the potential of south-south migration," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7628, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    international migration; family; individual; income; sending community; human rights; trafficking; migration; externality; skilled workers; policy; development; return; bilateral migration; exit barrier; minimum wages; remittances;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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