A new MPI Policy Brief: „What we know about migration and development” by Kathleen Newland


Executive Summary:

Few international transactions have had as strong an impact on the living standards of vast numbers of poor (and not-so-poor) people, and on the financial stability of developing countries, as international migration. Yet the policy framework of migration and development remains relatively weak, and few development agencies have made it a priority to consolidate and promote the positive impact of international migration. In some policy circles, emigration is still seen as a drain on a country’s human resources, rather than an opportunity for those who leave to become more productive and, if the circumstances are right, to contribute more to their countries of origin than if they had remained. The reason that this view persists to a surprising degree may be, in part, that the evidence supporting direct linkages between migration and development is not well known to policymakers. Many controversies persist because what we know about migration and development has not been fully incorporated into the analysis of development dynamics. This policy brief therefore reviews some of the concrete evidence that migration does indeed support development.

This paper concludes and gives an overview of a series of policy briefs by a group of international experts on migration and development, summarizing the state of knowledge in their particular areas of expertise. The series covered topics such as remittances, circular migration, skilled migration, the recruitment of migrant workers, the demography of migration, and more — and explained the relationship between these topics and development outcomes. The policy briefs in this series resulted from a project organized by the Migration Policy Institute and implemented between December 2012 and September 2013. It is intended to contribute to the discussions at the United Nations High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in October 2013 — and beyond — by clarifying the evidence base for the relationship between migration and development.