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One of the mysteries of development economics is why more people in subsistence agriculture don't migrate to cities where incomes are much, much higher. New data suggests one answer: when they move, their incomes may not go up as much as we thought.
Migration out of poor countries will continue throughout this century. By wishing otherwise, and devoting all their attention to walling themselves in, politicians will miss a vast opportunity to shape that migration in ways that benefit all parties involved. That window of opportunity is open now. But it will not remain open long.
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 August 2, the White House unveiled a plan to make drastic cuts to legal immigration. CGD experts have written and researched extensively on this hot topic, and have been quoted widely in recent media coverage. Spoiler alert: immigration has an overwhelmingly net positive effect on the US economy.
Amidst the ongoing debates in both the United States and India about the H-1B visa program, our new paper demonstrates the positive impacts of the H-1B visa program in both the United States and India. We find that the program provides benefits to US and Indian workers and consumers, and that it is a contributing factor to the expanding hi-tech sectors in both countries.
A report released recently suggests that two conservative senators are working on a plan to “dramatically scale back legal immigration,” reducing the one million immigrants who legally enter the country to about half that in ten years. Economic research time and again has shown that drastic cuts to legal immigration would be a lose-lose proposal for both the United States and global economy.
What if there were a way to reduce the nursing shortage in the UK in a way that is good for the National Health Service (NHS), good for developing countries, and good for nurses? We believe this is possible, with something called a Global Skills Partnership, that uses UK aid in a win-win partnership with developing countries. In this blog post we explain exactly how it could work to relieve the strain on the UK’s beloved NHS, and how such an idea might be replicated in other countries and other contexts.
Even if there were a robust and credible negative impact on wages of non-Hispanic male natives without a high school degree from low skill migrant arrivals (which there isn’t), this would not justify limiting immigration as there are better instruments to achieve the same objectives, with much less cost.
George Borjas has a 2015 paper on the Mariel boatlift experience arguing that, although the large and rapid influx of migrants did not affect average wages or low-skill wages, a small, demographically arbitrary, group experienced large negative wage impacts. In this blog post I want to address two technical points about this finding and then address more conceptual points about the policy implications of this general type of finding of distributional impacts in Part Two.