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In our research (a draft of which is available here: Khanna and Morales 2017) we show that the H-1B visa programme had a powerful impact on the US IT sector, and played a prominent role in spreading the boom to India.
Last week I blogged about a research discovery. An influential study had found that a 1980 wave of Cuban refugees into Miami, known as the Mariel Boatlift, had caused the wages of workers there to fall dramatically. In a new paper co-released by CGD and the National Bureau of Economic Research, my co-author and I revealed that large shifts in the racial composition of the underlying survey data could explain most or all of the same fall in wages. The author of the previous study, George Borjas, raised two substantive questions about our research, which I answer briefly in this post.
Do immigrants from poor countries hurt native workers? A study by an influential immigration economist at Harvard University recently found that a famous flood of Cuban immigrants into Miami dramatically reduced the wages of native workers. But there’s a problem. The Borjas study had a critical flaw that makes the finding spurious.
Americans have three choices regarding the low-paying, often hazardous jobs most don’t want: keep foreign labor here, continue to import the needed products, or use robots. To pretend otherwise is doing everyone a disservice.
The benefits of the migration of women to women themselves, sending, and receiving countries are well-documented. But across the world, women face higher barriers to migration than do men: in accessing the education and work experience that can help qualify them for visas, or in finding the resources necessary to move. And in some countries, women need the permission of husbands or fathers to get a job, to travel, or to obtain a passport. This is a loss to those who want to migrate and a self-inflicted wound on the countries they come from. It is also a loss to destination countries, which are denied the drive and talent of the women who don’t arrive. Recipient countries can help rebalance this inequality with a triple-win policy that benefits migrants, sending countries and themselves alike.
After Brexit, can the UK pursue its own national interest while still benefiting global development? A Global Skills Partnership (GSP) is a bilateral arrangement linking skill creation and skill mobility. The two countries participating in a Partnership craft a pre-migration agreement: targeting a specific skills gap, deciding how to allocate and finance training for potential migrants, and agreeing on employment terms and conditions for participants.
Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has assured people that post-Brexit labour policy will be about the “cream of the crop,” making sure that high-skilled workers won’t face excessive red tape or heavy-handed visa rules if they want to work in the UK. The “migration problem,” in Hammond’s words, is not with “computer professors, brain surgeons, or senior managers.” A migration policy built on that creaky premise misses at least three key points: gains from trade, mutual productivity, and huge welfare gains.
There’s growing recognition that the situation in Syria can’t be “fixed”. Western governments have instead lowered their sights to negotiating some kind of detente. That means that many more people will leave their homes in search of safety overseas. A key question coloring Europe’s debate over immigration policy is whether those new arrivals will hurt the wages of existing workers.