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The Emigration-Development Nexus: Recent Advances from the Growth Theory Perspective

Frédéric Docquier ()

Revue d’économie du développement, 2017, vol. 25, issue 3, 45-68

Abstract: Using a growth theory perspective, this paper summarizes the recent advances on the bidirectional links between emigration and development. Taken at face value, the stylized facts suggest that (i) helping poor countries to develop can relax credit constraints and lead to massive migration pressures, and (ii) increasing migration can spur the brain drain and increase global inequality. In terms of policy coherence, this means that development policies could reduce the effectiveness of restrictive immigration policies. Recent studies challenge these views. In this paper, I use a Migration Accounting model to show that credit constraints, while relevant for the very poorest countries, only have a limited effect on the upward segment of the migration transition curve. I then use a Development Accounting model to show that emigration, albeit skill-biased, is likely to generate positive effects on income per capita in most low-income and middle-income countries. Hence, should there be an inconsistency between policy actions, it is of a different nature: for most developing countries, migration barriers jeopardize the effectiveness of development and cooperation policies. JEL Codes: F22, J24, O15.

Keywords: migration; economic development; credit constraints; human capital; income inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J24 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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