Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD in the News

Is it naive to campaign for open borders when Trump is in the White House? (The Guardian)

May 5, 2017

From the article:

There is another way to harness migration for development, one that would allow increasing numbers of poor people to seek security and prosperity under a more flexible, predictable and safe regime. The gains of reform are hard to estimate, not least because the real-life precedents of (more) open borders are scarce. But a few pieces of work allow us to glimpse the potential that may lay along this route.

A fascinating experiment in which a group of 14 Haitians were granted temporary visas to work in the agricultural sector of the US was documented by Michael Clemens and Hannah Postel, at the Center for Global Development. The programme was designed as part of the American government’s response to Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, and its results were surprising in a number of ways. Firstly, households with a worker within the initiative were able to double their annual income in just one month or two. Secondly, more than 85% of the workers’ earnings were brought home, benefiting hard-hit families in Haiti. And thirdly, in one month each of the migrant workers generated $4,000 (£3,100) for the US economy, and $3,000 (£2,300) for the Haitian economy.

The multiple ways in which migration flows have a positive impact on the prosperity of both sending and destination countries have been extensively documented in the last decades. Their scale is far above other development strategies that get more attention from donors, academics and practitioners.

Read full article.

Related Experts

Photo of Michael Clemens
Co-Director of Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy and Senior Fellow