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Evidence on Policies to Increase the Development Impacts of International Migration

Listed author(s):
  • McKenzie, David

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Yang, Dean

    ()

    (University of Michigan)

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: pre-departure, 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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8523.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2014
Publication status: published in: World Bank Research Observer, 2015, 30(2), 155-92
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8523
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  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, 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," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1331, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  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.
  7. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-288, April.
  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.
  13. McKenzie, David, 2007. "Paper Walls Are Easier to Tear Down: Passport Costs and Legal Barriers to Emigration," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 2026-2039, November.
  14. John Hayfron, 2001. "Language training, language proficiency and earnings of immigrants in Norway," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(15), pages 1971-1979.
  15. Kate Ambler & Diego Aycinena & Dean Yang, 2015. "Channeling Remittances to Education: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 207-232, April.
  16. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
  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, March.
  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, 05.
  20. David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2010. "How Important Is Selection? Experimental vs. Non-Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
  21. Avato, Johanna & Koettl, Johannes & Sabates-Wheeler, Rachel, 2010. "Social Security Regimes, Global Estimates, and Good Practices: The Status of Social Protection for International Migrants," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 455-466, April.
  22. Ambler, Kate, 2013. "Don’t tell on me: Experimental evidence of asymmetric information in transnational households:," IFPRI discussion papers 1312, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  23. Freund, Caroline & Spatafora, Nikola, 2005. "Remittances : transaction costs, determinants, and informal flows," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3704, The World Bank.
  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.
  26. Pernilla Andersson Joona & Lena Nekby, 2012. "Intensive Coaching of New Immigrants: An Evaluation Based on Random Program Assignment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(2), pages 575-600, 06.
  27. Catia Batista & Gaia Narciso, 2013. "Migrant Remittances and Information Flows: Evidence from a Field Experiment," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1331, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  28. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=8632 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. repec:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i::p:339-375 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Catia Batista & Gaia Narciso, 2013. "Migrant remittances and information flows: Evidence from a field experiment," FEUNL Working Paper Series novafrica:wp1306, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
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