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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.
Please see the bottom of this page for a preliminary and partial summary of the survey results.
The Center for Global Development (CGD) is conducting an anonymous mail survey of all African-born physicians in North America who are members of the American Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association, as well as several thousand African-born registered nurses in five US states. The survey will be conducted between May and July 2006.
CGD is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan research institute in Washington, DC. We do academic research on how rich countries' policies can do more to reduce poverty in the developing world. Most of our work, including this survey, is funded by independent philanthropists with no agenda other than supporting high-quality research relevant to policy. Learn more about CGD and its history, mission, and funders.
The purpose of the survey is to better inform academic research about the complex effects of the emigration of African professionals on their countries of origin. Frequently, public discussion of these effects focuses on simple effects, presumed to be negative--African health professionals who live abroad are not spending most of their time providing health care in Africa, whereas the positive effects tend to be ignored. Migrant professionals often send money to their home countries, travel back to their home countries, invest in their home countries, and sometimes move back permanently to their home countries with newly acquired skills and wealth. In this survey we hope to document and measure some of these more complex, positive effects. We thus ask questions about the extent of interaction African-born health professionals abroad have with their countries of origin.
We are conducting this survey purely for academic ends. The questionnaire is completely anonymous. We do not request, nor attempt in any way to obtain, the identity of survey respondents. Our only interest lies in estimating general characteristics of the entire population of African health professionals in North America, as a group.
Who is running the survey
This survey is being conducted by two CGD research staff members: Michael Clemens, PhD, and Gunilla Pettersson. Dr. Clemens is a Research Fellow at the Center. He received his doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 2002 and specializes in the study of economic development and economic history. Access Dr. Clemens' bio and writings. Ms. Pettersson is a Research Assistant at the Center, and holds her master's degree in economics from Oxford University. She has lived and worked in Lesotho and Malawi. If you have any questions about the survey we would be happy to discuss them with you; please get in touch with Ms. Pettersson by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preliminary results for CGD survey of African physicians and nurses in the US and Canada
These preliminary results are intended for survey participants only and may not be cited. So far we have received 1600 responses to the CGD African-born physician survey and 230 responses to the CGD African-born nurse survey and we are very grateful to all survey participants. Simple averages for select questions from the two surveys for 390 and 124 physician and nurse respondents respectively, for which data have been entered are shown in the tables below. The final results will be published here in September 2006.
AVERAGES FOR SELECT VARIABLES FOR CGD AFRICAN-BORN PHYSICIAN SURVEY (partial results)
Average annual remittances: US$4,600Average year physicians began to live continuously in the U.S.: 1982Average share of physicians trained at home (i.e. in Africa): 53%Average share of physicians trained abroad (i.e. outside Africa): 47%Average share of responses from Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa): 58%Average share of responses from North Africa: 29%Average share of responses from South Africa: 13%Share of physicians providing medical care in their country of birth during the last 12 months: 8%
Preliminary numbers for 390 survey responses. Not for citation.Source: CGD survey of African-born physicians in Canada and the United States (2006).
AVERAGES FOR SELECT VARIABLES FOR CGD AFRICAN-BORN NURSE SURVEY (partial results)
Average annual remittance: US$4,720Average year nurses began to live continuously in the U.S.: 1990Average share of nurses trained at home (i.e. Africa): 26%Average share of nurses trained abroad (i.e. not Africa): 74%Average share of responses from Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa): 97.6%Average share of responses from North Africa: 0.8%Average share of responses from South Africa: 1.6%Share of nurses that provided medical care in their country of birth during the last 12 months: 6%
Preliminary numbers for 124 survey responses. Not for citation. Source: CGD survey of African-born nurses in the United States (2006).
This week world leaders gather in New York to assess progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. New CGD materials offer a fresh perspective on the MDGs and the controversy that they have stirred among the richest countries. (Hint: The MDGs might be part of the problem). Learn more about CGD research and the MDGs
Many poor countries, especially in Africa, will miss the MDGs by a large margin. But neither African inaction nor a lack of aid will necessarily be the reason. Instead, responsibility for near-certain ‘failure’ lies with the overly-ambitious goals themselves and unrealistic expectations placed on aid. While the MDGs may have galvanized activists and encouraged bigger aid budgets, over-reaching brings risks as well. Promising too much leads to disillusionment and can erode the constituency for long-term engagement with the developing world.
The September 2005 issue of Finance and Development, a quarterly magazine of the IMF published in five languages and widely read by developing world policy makers, includes two articles by CGD researchers.
In Aid and Growth, Steven Radelet, Michael Clemens, and Rikhil Bhavnani present new evidence that aid flows aimed at growth have produced results. The authors argue that policy discussions should not focus exclusively on determining the limits of aid on growth, but rather on how those limits can be expanded so that aid can be made more effective in supporting development. The article is based on a widely-cited CGD working paper by the same authors, Counting Chickens When They Hatch: the Short-Term Effect of Aid on Growth.
In a companion piece titled Aiding Development: Tracking the Flows, CGD's Bilal Siddiqi presents chart-based analysis of which rich countries give the most aid – and where the money goes.
The international goal for rich countries to devote 0.7% of their national income to development assistance has become a cause célèbre for aid activists and has been accepted in many official quarters as the legitimate target for aid budgets. The origins of the target, however, raise serious questions about its relevance.
Zimbabwe has experienced a precipitous collapse in its economy over the past five years. The government blames its economic problems on external forces and drought. We assess these claims, but find that the economic crisis has cost the government far more in key budget resources than has the donor pullout. We show that low rainfall cannot account for the shock either. This leaves economic misrule as the only plausible cause of Zimbabwe’s economic regression, the decline in welfare, and unnecessary deaths of its children.
At the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 the nations of the world committed to join forces to meet a set of measurable targets for reducing world poverty, disease, illiteracy and other indicators of human misery—all by the year 2015. These targets, later named the Millennium Development Goals, include seven measures of human development in poor countries. At the same summit, world leaders took on several qualitative targets applicable to rich countries, later collected in an eighth Goal. The key elements of the eighth Goal, pledge financial support and policy changes in trade, debt relief, and other areas to assist poor countries'domestic efforts to meet the first seven Goals. Combined, the eight Goals constitute a global compact between poor and rich to work today toward their mutual interests to secure a prosperous future.
Global private capital flows have barely touched the poorest nations; the rich invest mostly with the rich. It is possible that failures in the global capital market prevent capital from exploiting high returns in poor countries; it is also possible that fundamental returns to investment are lower in poor countries. In this paper, a novel empirical framework uses standard data to conclude that 85% of wealth bias, whether caused by market failure or not, is domestic in origin. That is, poor country lenders are deterred from investing in poor countries to nearly the same degree that rich-country lenders are.