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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.

 

Why Today’s Migration Crisis Is an Issue of Global Economic Inequality

A yearlong project of the Ford Foundation has asked a simple question—“What is inequality?”—to CGD’s Michael Clemens along with a group including Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz, Gloria Steinem, Sir Richard Branson, and Sir Elton John. Many spoke about rising domestic inequality. But to Clemens, #InequalityIs global. And innovative policy can tap the power of migration to reduce inequality while minimizing its risks.

Protection for Survival Migrants: Policy Tweaks for Outsize Impact

More people are now displaced outside their home than at any other time since UNHCR records began; these mass movements will only continue as conflict, disaster, extreme poverty, and other hardships force people to seek safety and opportunity. Unfortunately, most recent policy solutions have been ad hoc and based in fear. Can we do better? CGD and co-host ODI recently convened a panel of experts to discuss the economics and politics of this crucial question.

Behind-the-Scenes of #InequalityIs

By now you may have heard of #InequalityIs, the Ford Foundation’s latest endeavor ticking through Twitter feeds around the world. The campaign kicked off last month with a series of videos featuring Sir Elton John, feminist powerhouse Gloria Steinem and journalist/activist/filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas describing, in two minutes, what inequality means to them. When the Ford Foundation asked senior fellow and migration economist Michael Clemens to weigh in alongside the stars to describe what inequality is, we jumped at the opportunity.

The World Bank Is Turning 70. Do We Still Need It?

The World Bank opened in 1946 to finance a global economy just emerging from colonization and warfare and just embarking on the Cold War. Today the global development landscape is radically different, and capital circles the globe at volumes unthinkable back then. Why keep the World Bank now?

A Well-Intended Waste at Malta? The New EU-Africa Deal Will Do Little for the Migration Crisis

On Thursday, the leaders of 30 African countries signed a European Commission action plan tasking them–in exchange for a $2 billion “emergency trust fund”–to take back economic migrants looking to settle in Europe. If this sum is meant as a bribe, it is a bad deal. With remittances dwarfing foreign aid worldwide ($580 billion versus $135 billion in 2014), migration is a better deal for Africa than aid.

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.

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