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We need to stop talking about refugees as if they are burden to be shared. Refugees benefit both economy and the community—and if we invested more and better in giving them a good start, they would be able to make an even bigger contribution. Here we suggest innovative finance mechanisms to pay for that investment without putting pressure on public finances, instead enabling refugees to develop and apply their skills, integrate effectively, and improve their overall contribution.
This week, the 5thAfrican Union-EU summit will take place in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, bringing together head of states from Europe and Africa. Given recent events on both continents and the international spotlight on the issue, migration will be a major agenda item. Here, we look at why migration is at a crossroads now and propose channels for legal, managed, mutually beneficial migration in the years to come.
Ensuring refugees have access to livelihoods opportunities is one of the key factors to broader stability. When refugees are allowed to contribute meaningfully to the economy, they gain self-reliance and economic security. Creating sustainable livelihoods, providing the right to work and to own a business, and creatively bringing refugees and native businesses into the formal economy can be steps in the right direction.
Given the rate and scale of the unfolding crisis in Myanmar, the international community is rightly focused on emergency humanitarian measures. But it is also imperative for international actors to move quickly to develop complementary solutions that can improve the situation both now and in the longer-term. Here are three key elements of such a package for Bangladesh.
When a new refugee flow emerges, there is a short window of a few months for stopping the violence and enabling people to return home. It that window is missed, a new refugee population will likely remain displaced for decades. That’s where the US comes in—a large and coordinated push on the Burmese government can help stop the violence, allow Rohingya refugees to return, and recognize their rights.
The level of challenge faced by Jordan and Moldova on refugees and migration is remarkable: while Jordan has welcomed over a million Syrian refugees, Moldova has a migration outflow equivalent to a quarter of its population. Without the option of closing their borders, the scale of these movements not only puts the challenge for developed countries into context, but provides important insights on the importance of planning, and of innovation in policy.
On Thursday we launched our new research at an event in New York with the Tent Foundation and CEOs from Ikea and other multinational corporations on how global businesses can engage refugees in more sustainable ways. As leaders gather for the UN General Assembly, we hope they will focus on the unique value add of businesses. Their leadership is vital at a time when some governments—including the United States, a historic leader on refugee issues—are stepping back from their commitments. With the right support and opportunities, refugees quickly become economic contributors to their host countries—and businesses are a critical piece of the puzzle.
The arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants in Europe has brought widespread concern they will become an economic drain on the countries that welcome them. When economists have studied past influxes of refugees and migrants they have found the labor market effects, while varied, are very limited, and can in fact be positive.
We are inundated by bad news about Syria and the heartbreaking stories of refugees fleeing this war-torn country. But there is another side to the story. A groundbreaking study by the NGO Building Markets indicates that there are over 10,000 Syrian-owned businesses in Turkey. Since 2011, Syrians have invested nearly $334 million into 6,033 new companies.
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.