A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

    • Resources on international migration in the development context. Includes subjects on remittances, migration and poverty reduction, economic impact of migration, labor mobility, brain drain and diaspora studies.
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        Assuring Development Gains and Poverty Reduction from Trade: the Labour Mobility and Skills Trade Dimension (English)
        Book by Puri, Lakshmi /UNCTAD, 2008, 129 pages
        Categories: Globalization and Development Strategies, Migration and Development

        What: It is becoming increasingly clear that the issue of global labour movement and integration is a key topic at the interface of trade, development and globalization. In 2005 the global labour force numbered 2.8 billion, of which 2.25 billion was developing country labour force. This paper attempts to provide a comprehensive picture of the impact on trade, development and poverty reduction brought about by global labour movement and integration. It attempts to answer the question as to how temporary labour mobility can be better managed so as to contribute to improving people's livelihood and welfare prospects while at the same time moving closer to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, in particular the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. How: The paper looks at temporary labour mobility and skills trade as it relates to trade and development from the perspectives of both sending and receiving countries. It sets out the problem of labour mobility, the state of play in the global labour market, push-pull factors that cause labour mobility and succinctly, the seven inconsistencies of the labour movement conundrum. A detailed examination of the socio-economic costs and benefits to sending and receiving countries provides a balanced overview of the picture.

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        Coordination Failures in Immigration Policy (English)
        Working paper by Giordani , Paolo E., Ruta, Michele, 2011, 42 pages
        Categories: Globalization and Development Strategies, Migration and Development, WTO Issues/Multilateral Trading System

        We propose a theoretical framework for analyzing the problems associated to unilateral immigration policy in receiving countries and for evaluating the grounds for reform of international institutions governing immigration. We build a model with multiple destination countries and show that immigration policy in one country is influenced by measures adopted abroad as migrants choose where to locate (in part) in response to differences in immigration policy. This interdependence gives rise to a leakage effect of immigration policy, an international externality well documented in the empirical literature. In this environment, immigration policy becomes strategic and unilateral behavior may lead to coordination failures, where receiving countries are stuck in welfare inferior equilibria. We then study the conditions under which a coordination failure is more likely to emerge and argue that multilateral institutions that help receiving countries make immigration policy commitments would address this inefficiency.

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        Do Remittances Reduce Vulnerability to Climate Variability in West African Countries? Evidence from Panel Vector Autoregression (English)
        Discussion paper by Couharde, Cécile, Davis, Junior, Generoso, Rémi, 2011, 31 pages
        Categories: Finance for Development, Macroeconomic Policy, Migration and Development

        In this paper, we empirically examine the role of remittances in smoothing the GDP fluctuations induced by precipitation variability and both meteorological and natural shocks. To this end, we use a panel VAR to empirically study six West African countries from 1983 to 2009. Our evidence suggests that remittances are an important element of macroeconomic stability especially for those countries most vulnerable to precipitation variability. The estimated orthogonalized impulse responses show on one hand, that meteorological shocks and declining precipitation have both adverse consequences on GDP per capita. On the other hand, remittances are characterized by counter-cyclical patterns in cases of precipitation variability and climate shocks. Remittances inflows in the selected countries (countries of emigration) are also heavily dependent on economic shocks in host countries.

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        Global Inequality: From Class to Location, from Proletarians to Migrants (English)
        Working paper by Milanovic, Branko, 2011, 25 pages
        Categories: Globalization and Development Strategies, Migration and Development

        Inequality between world citizens in mid-19th century was such that at least a half of it could be explained by income differences between workers and capital-owners in individual countries. Real income of workers in most countries was similar and low. This was the basis on which Marxism built its universal appeal. More than 150 years later, in the early 21st century, the situation has changed fundamentally: more than 80 percent of global income differences is due to large gaps in mean incomes between countries, and unskilled workers’ wages in rich and poor countries often differ by a factor of 10 to 1. This is the basis on which a new global political issue of migration has emerged because income differences between countries make individual gains from migration large. The key coming issue will be how to deal with this challenge while acknowledging that migration is probably the most powerful tool for reducing global poverty and inequality.

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        Handbook on Establishing Effective Labour Migration Policies - Mediterranean Edition (English)
        Manual by OSCE, ILO, IOM, 2007, 278 pages
        Categories: Migration and Development

        This Handbook aims to assist states in their efforts to develop new policy approaches, solutions and practical measures for better management of labour migration in countries of origin and of destination. It analyses effective policies and practices and draws on examples from the OSCE participating States, the southern Mediterranean countries as well as other countries that have considerable experience in this field containing specific models, practical guidelines and examples.

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        The International Mobility of Highly Educated Workers Among OECD Countries (English)
        Article by Globerman, Steven; Shapiro, Daniel, 2008, 36 pages
        Categories: Migration and Development, Trade Policy Analysis and Trade Data Sources

        The study, published in the "Transnational Corporations" journal's edition of April 2008, analyzes the determinants of bilateral migration flows of highly educated workers (HEWs) within OECD countries using an augmented gravity model. The results for all migrants irrespective of their level of education confirm the importance of bilateral FDI and trade as stimuli for bilateral migration flows. The level of migration at all levels of education is higher between countries with large populations and lower when geographic, linguistic and religious “distances” are relatively large. All migrants also tend to leave countries where economic conditions are relatively poor (high unemployment; low GDP per capita) and move to areas where conditions are better. With regard to the migration of HEWs in particular, bilateral trade and FDI have an even greater impact. In addition, HEWs are more influenced by the “pull” of economic conditions in host countries, while those with less education are more heavily influenced by the “push” of economic factors in their home countries. The study provides an interesting analytical framework for the modeling of migration and also adds to current literature by using recent OECD data on migrants by level of education (such data, although not used in this study, is also available for migrants from non-OECD countries) and includes measures of bilateral trade and FDI as determinants of bilateral migration.

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        Labour Migration and Human Development 2011 Annual Report
        Report by IOM, 2012, 70 pages
        Categories: Migration and Development

        The report presents an overview of labour migration and development dynamics in the framework of IOM’s vision and strategy. It includes examples of best practices and highlights relevant projects implemented by IOM’s offices around the globe with respect to global and local issues in commitment with migrants’ interests. In addition, the report outlines anticipated programmatic trends for 2012.

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        Least Developed Countries Report 2012 - Harnessing Remittances and Diaspora Knowledge to Build Productive Capacities
        Report by UNCTAD, 2012, 190 pages
        Categories: Finance for Development, Migration and Development

        The Least Developed Countries Report 2012 focuses on the issue of remittances from a wider perspective. It examines the potential role of migrants or diasporas at large from LDCs as sources of development finance and also as channels of knowledge transfer and as facilitators of trade and market access opportunities in the host countries. The Report identifies policies, including policy lessons from other countries, that LDCs may wish to consider in designing policy frameworks for harnessing remittances and diaspora knowledge to build productive capacities.

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        Least Developed Countries Report 2012 - Harnessing Remittances and Diaspora Knowledge to Build Productive Capacities - Overview
        Summary by UNCTAD, 2012, 27 pages
        Categories: Finance for Development, Migration and Development

        The Least Developed Countries Report 2012 focuses on the issue of remittances from a wider perspective. It examines the potential role of migrants or diasporas at large from LDCs as sources of development finance and also as channels of knowledge transfer and as facilitators of trade and market access opportunities in the host countries. The Report identifies policies, including policy lessons from other countries, that LDCs may wish to consider in designing policy frameworks for harnessing remittances and diaspora knowledge to build productive capacities.

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        Migration, Remittances, Poverty, and Human Capital: Conceptual and Empirical Challenges (English)
        Working paper by McKenzie, David; Sasin, Marcin / Worldbank, 2007, 16 pages
        Categories: Migration and Development, Trade and Poverty

        This paper reviews common challenges faced by researchers interested in measuring the impact of migration and remittances on income poverty, inequality and human capital (or, in general, welfare) as well as difficulties confronting development practitioners in converting this research into policy advice. On the analytical side, the paper discusses the proper formulation of a research question, the choice of the analytical tools as well as the interpretation of the results, in the presence of pervasive endogeneity in all decisions surrounding migration. Particular attention is given to the use of instrumental variables in migration research. On the policy side, the paper argues that the private nature of migration and remittances implies a need to carefully spell out the rationale for interventions. It also notices the lack of good migration data and proper evaluations of migration-related government policies. The paper focuses mainly on microeconomic evidence about international migration, but much of the discussion extends to other settings as well.

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        New Thinking Surrounding Remittances and Development (English)
        Discussion paper by UNCTAD, 2011, 193 pages
        Categories: Migration and Development

        The present publication seeks to gather main experiences and proposals made by policy makers, delegates, experts, intergovernmental organisation and civil society representatives during the 2011 UNCTAD Single Year Expert meeting on “Maximizing the development impact of remittances”. It is also a tool for consolidating state of the art knowledge on remittances trends, providing new thinking on the role that remittances play on development, and enabling stakeholders in better designing comprehensive policy and institutional frameworks in the intersection between migration, remittances, financial services and labour mobility issues.

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        Policy Guide on Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees (English)
        Report by UNCTAD; IOM; UNHCR, 2018, 179 pages
        Categories: Migration and Development

        This policy guide focuses on the role of entrepreneurship in enhancing the positive effects of migration on economic growth and development. It is a practical tool aimed at strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus urged by the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 and the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted at the 71st United Nations General Assembly in September 2016. In order to inform policy decisions and programming, UNCTAD, IOM and UNHCR have put together their forces to provide a fact-based guide, highlighting the positive social, cultural and economic contribution that migrants and refugees can make to their home and host countries.

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        Social Interactions of Migrants and Trade Outcomes (English)
        Working paper by Tai, Silvio H. T., 2009, 23 pages
        Categories: Migration and Development, Trade Policy Analysis and Trade Data Sources

        This paper investigates the social interactions performed by immigrants in France. A framework for immigrant’s choice of location is based on recent studies on non-market interactions which explains how migrants concentrate. Applying data on the distribution of immigrants in 95 French provinces, the social interactions are subsequently estimated. This “social component” of migration is then tested on international trade, providing a direct measure of the impact of social networks on the economy.

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        Using Commoditized Revenue Flows to Leverage Access to International Finance; with a Special Focus on Migrant Remittances and Payment Flows (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, 2006, 25 pages
        Categories: Commodities, Finance for Development, Migration and Development

        The field of finance for developing countries has changed in a revolutionary manner since the international debt crisis of the 1980s. The losses that international banks incurred discouraged them from continuing to lend on an unsecured basis to developing countries governments and private entities. But as demand for credit remained strong and profit margins were high, some of them rapidly developed new techniques for dealing with the risks. Many of these risk mitigation techniques relate to the field of structured finance - discussed extensively in earlier UNCTAD papers. One particular form of structured finance is future flow finance, in which the financier takes some form of control over the future export earnings of the borrower (thus, the financier no longer relies on the borrower´s willingness to reimburse, but rather, on its continuation in business). Most of the future flow finance for developing countries has been for commodity exports: the resulting products are easy to sell, minimum export flows are easily predictable, buyers are often large western companies and export prices are quite transparent. As this remains a rather specialized area in the banking industry (and those involved understandably first go for the easiest transactions), it is perhaps not surprising that many opportunities remain open. This paper focuses on the most recent forms of future flow finance, which are structured on the back of two commoditized revenue streams that have only been identified over the past ten years as providing the potential for underpinning hard currency credits: migrant remittances and trade payment flows. Deals structured around these flows have only been struck in a handful of countries, even though in principle, possibilities exist in most developing countries. It is hoped that this brief paper will help draw the attention of decision makers in governments and the financial sector to the opportunities that exist in this area, and that it provides a good insight in how to structure the related transactions.

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