Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Violence and Paranoia in the US–Mexico Borderlands

It is a major concern often heard from US border residents: how much might increasing drug cartel violence in Mexico “spill over” into the United States? It’s certainly true that illicit markets—in drugs, guns and people—have long flourished across the 2,000 mile frontier, and pose policy concerns for both countries. To date, the major strategy to tackle this problem has been a law enforcement approach sponsored by the United States. Is this the right approach?

A Self-Interested Approach to Migration Crises

Recent research overturns the standard narrative about refugee crises: that addressing them mainly means curtailing the conflict and poverty that “push” migrants away from home and slashing the excessive generosity that “pull” them into other countries. Instead, pragmatic and self-interested policymakers should consider that they often waste resources when trying to reduce push factors, and they can spark an inhumane and inefficient race to the bottom by acting individually to reduce pull factors. Through broad international cooperation to get people out of camps and into the labor force, though, they can transform refugees from a burden into an investment.

Remittance Economics 101 for Populist Politicians

Around 1900, many claimed that Italian immigrants were harming the US by sending money abroad. All the way back to 1728, Jonathan Swift believed that outflows of money hurt Ireland. The idea keeps coming back because, if you think about it for a minute, it makes sense. Money buys stuff, and if it buys Mexican stuff, it’s not buying American stuff. But if you think about it for one more minute, it falls apart. Here is a basic course in the economics of remittances for populist politicians. 

Strange Bedfellows – Politics of Immigration Policy in the 2016 Presidential Election

Spoiler alert: this is not a blog post about #DumpTrump. However, the 2016 U.S. presidential election – and last week’s Republican debate – demonstrates an increasing focus on U.S. immigration policy and reform. While many candidates are sticking to the oft-repeated refrain of ‘border security first,’ some have taken unexpected stands.

What We Hope to Hear from Obama in the State of the Union

President Obama delivers his sixth State of the Union address tonight before Congress. The media is sure to make much of the fact that the president’s constitutionally encouraged remarks will fall on the ears of a GOP-led House and Senate for the first time since he took office in 2009. But here at CGD, we’ll be listening less for signals of congressional engagement and more for commitments to global engagement.

Migration and Development: Small Tweaks for Big Benefits

Britain’s highly charged debate about immigration means that migration systems and policies are potentially in flux—a chance, perhaps, for innovation. We believe there are opportunities to tweak these policies so that they deliver big benefits for poor people, avoid the most harmful unintended consequences, and make British people better-off.