Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



December 20, 2016

Why Increasing Female Migration from Gender-Unequal Countries Is a Win for Everyone

Available evidence points to a superior payoff to female migration from gender-unequal countries to more gender-equal countries for the migrant, the sending country, and recipient country alike. This suggests that a policy by relatively gender-equal countries to provide entry preference to female economic migrants from gender-unequal countries would combine development impact and economic self-interest.

November 15, 2016

Is There a Goldilocks Solution? “Just Right” Promotion of Labor Mobility

The “just right” approach for the mobility of low-skill labor looks to avoid either “too hard”—expecting countries to make legally binding commitments to a global protocol—or “too soft”—no global mechanisms for reducing restrictions on labor mobility. We propose a “bundled” organization that works with existing bilateral labor agreements and partners as part of an organization capable of analysis and advocacy.

CGD and International Rescue Committee Logos
October 3, 2016

Refugee Compacts: An Initial Framework

The global community is facing extraordinary shifts in forced displacement. Today, more people than ever before—65 million, including 21 million refugees—are displaced by conflict. Host countries are taking on great responsibility for these displaced populations, but with insufficient support. New partners and new models are required to meet the displacement challenge. This brief outlines a compact model with critical components, including shared outcomes for refugees, host country ownership and focus on longer-term transition, best practices for program design and management, and commitment to policy reforms.

Cover of "To Control Migration Flows and Defeat Human Smuggling, Sell Visas"
October 1, 2016

To Control Migration Flows and Defeat Human Smuggling, Sell Visas

Policymakers in most OECD countries face the challenge that they must fight people smuggling while retaining control of migration flows. An innovative policy of selling visas combined with enforced sanctions on employers and employees for illegal working can control migration flows and put smugglers out of business.

Alice Mesnard and Emmanuelle Auriol
Shared Border, Shared Future report cover
September 13, 2016

Shared Border, Shared Future: A Blueprint to Regulate US-Mexico Labor Mobility

Mexico and the United States have lacked a bilateral agreement to regulate cross-border labor mobility since 1965. Since that time, unlawful migration from Mexico to the US has exploded. To address this challenge, CGD assembled a group of leaders from both countries and with diverse political affiliations—from backgrounds in national security, labor unions, law, economics, business, and diplomacy—to recommend how to move forward. The result is a new blueprint for a bilateral agreement that is designed to end unlawful migration, promote the interests of US and Mexican workers, and uphold the rule of law. 

Unauthorized Mexican Workers in the United States: Recent Inflows and Possible Future Scenarios
September 12, 2016

Unauthorized Mexican Workers in the United States: Recent Inflows and Possible Future Scenarios - Working Paper 436

The U.S. economy has long relied on immigrant workers, many of them unauthorized, yet estimates of the inflow of unauthorized workers and the determinants of that inflow are hard to come by. This paper provides estimates of the number of newly arriving unauthorized workers from Mexico, the principal source of unauthorized immigrants to the United States, and examines how the inflow is related to U.S. and Mexico economic conditions. Our estimates suggest that annual inflows of unauthorized workers averaged about 170,000 during 1996-2014 but were much higher before the economic downturn that began in 2007. Labor market conditions in the U.S. and Mexico play key roles in this migrant flow. The models estimated here predict that annual unauthorized inflows from Mexico will be about 100,000 in the future if recent economic conditions persist, and higher if the U.S. economy booms or the Mexican economy weakens.

July 8, 2016

Bounding the Price Equivalent of Migration Barriers - Working Paper 428

Large international differences in the price of labor can be sustained by differences between workers, or by natural and policy barriers to worker mobility. We use migrant selection theory and evidence to place lower bounds on the ad valorem equivalent of labor mobility barriers to the United States. Natural and policy barriers may each create annual global losses of trillions of dollars.

Michael Clemens , Claudio E. Montenegro and Lant Pritchett
February 23, 2016

The New Economic Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment - Working Paper 423

For decades, migration economics has stressed the effects of migration restrictions on income distribution in the host country. Recently the literature has taken a new direction by estimating the costs of migration restrictions to global economic efficiency. In contrast, a new strand of research posits that migration restrictions could be not only desirably redistributive, but in fact globally efficient. This is the new economic case for migration restrictions: empirically, a case against the stringency of current restrictions.