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If you’ve followed the news the last few days, you know that there is a migrant caravan approaching the US border, 7000-people strong. But who are these people, why have they left Central America, and what do they want once they cross the border?
Too often, migration debates focus on what the effects of immigration are: Do migrants take jobs and drive down wages of native workers? Are refugees a drain on public services, taking advantage of social welfare? Facing this challenge means asking a different and more fruitful question: how different policy choices can produce positive outcomes and avoid negative ones.
As world leaders gather to kick off the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, CGD’s experts weigh in to shed some light on the ongoing debates, with innovative evidence-based solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges, and also discuss what’s not on the agenda but should be.
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.
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.
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.