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Migration and development, economic growth, aid effectiveness, economic history
Michael Clemens is co-director of migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, where he studies the economic effects and causes of migration around the world. He has published on migration, development, economic history, and impact evaluation, in peer-reviewed academic journals including the American Economic Review, and his research has been awarded the Royal Economic Society Prize. He also serves as a Research Fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany, an Associate Editor of the Journal of Population Economics and World Development. He is the author of the book The Walls of Nations, forthcoming from Columbia University Press. Previously, Clemens has been an Affiliated Associate Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University, a visiting scholar at New York University, and a consultant for the World Bank, Bain & Co., the Environmental Defense Fund, and the United Nations Development Program. He has lived and worked in Colombia, Brazil, and Turkey. He received his PhD from the Department of Economics at Harvard University, specializing in economic development, public finance, and economic history.
From 2011 to 2016, about 179,000 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala were apprehended entering the United States. While the crisis received ample media attention, limited data has meant little rigorous analysis of what made those children move. Using unprecedented data on each apprehension, we measure how violence in these children’s hometowns shaped their migration. In the average municipality the children came from, 10 additional homicides caused about six additional apprehensions.
In 2014, unprecedented numbers of children and families began crossing the southern border of the United States, sparking an ongoing debate on what was driving them and how the U.S. should respond. Using data provided by the Department of Homeland Security, new research by Michael Clemens finds the flow of unaccompanied child migrants to the United States has been driven by a complex mix of violence and economic forces. How do these elements interact, and how can foreign policy be a form of migration policy?
CGD experts Michael Clemens and Gaurav Khanna look at high- and low-skilled workers from three countries across several decades. Different studies, different perspectives—but all pointing at the same thing: immigrants have an overwhelmingly net positive effect on the US economy.
On August 2, the White House unveiled a plan to make drastic cuts to legal immigration. CGD experts have written and researched extensively on this hot topic, and have been quoted widely in recent media coverage. Spoiler alert: immigration has an overwhelmingly net positive effect on the US economy.
In a new study on the root causes of child migration from Central America to the United States, I statistically link migration decisions to violence and employment conditions in the localities they come from. I find that the relative contributions of violence and economic drivers are roughly equal, and that every ten additional murders in the region caused six more children to migrate to the United States.
This paper studies the relationship between violence in the Northern Triangle and child migration to the United States. It finds that one additional homicide per year in the region, sustained over the six-year period of study—that is, a cumulative total of six additional homicides—caused a cumulative total of 3.7 additional unaccompanied child apprehensions in the United States. The explanatory power of short-term increases in violence is roughly equal to the explanatory power of long-term economic characteristics like average income and poverty.
A report released recently suggests that two conservative senators are working on a plan to “dramatically scale back legal immigration,” reducing the one million immigrants who legally enter the country to about half that in ten years. Economic research time and again has shown that drastic cuts to legal immigration would be a lose-lose proposal for both the United States and global economy.
As the US Administration presses for the most extensive revision to immigration law since 1965, with the largest cuts to legal immigration since 1924 in the proposed “Securing America’s Future Act,” a new CGD analysis quantifies for the first time how the proposed cuts would affect the ethnic, religious, and educational composition of immigration flows.
People who move from poor countries to rich countries add colossal value to the world economy. They can do this, my research has shown, because their labor is often several times more valuable in the countries they move to. Workers who move, even in modest numbers, can create economic gains in the trillions of dollars, and most of that value accrues to the destination country.
Commission on International Migration Data for Development Research and Policy
In this CGD report, the Commission on International Migration Data for Development Research and Policy presents their five recommendations to remedy the lack of good data on migration and its effects on development. The recommendations are politically and technically practical and would allow countries to greatly improve their migration data at low cost, and with existing mechanisms. The first step: ask basic census questions and make the data publicly available.
Skilled workers emigrate from developing countries in rising numbers, raising fears of a drain on the human and financial resources of the countries they leave. This paper critiques existing policy proposals to address the development effects of skilled migration. It then proposes a new kind of policy tool to regulate skilled migration in a way that benefits origin countries, destination countries, and migrants. ‘Global skill partnerships’ are bilateral public-private agreements to link skill creation and skill mobility for mutual benefit. The paper describes how such an agreement might work in one profession (nursing) and one region (North Africa).
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unlikely to be met by 2015, even if huge increases in development assistance materialize. The rates of progress required by many of the goals are at the edges of or beyond historical precedent. Many countries making extraordinarily rapid progress on MDG indicators, due in large part to aid, will nonetheless not reach the MDGs. Unrealistic targets thus may turn successes into perceptions of failure, serving to undermine future constituencies for aid (in donors) and reform (in recipients). This would be unfortunate given the vital role of aid and reform in the development process and the need for long-term, sustained aid commitments.