Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity




May 19, 2014

Why Don't Remittances Appear to Affect Growth? - Working Paper 366

While measured remittances by migrant workers have soared in recent years, macroeconomic studies have difficulty detecting their effect on economic growth. We review existing explanations for this puzzle and propose three new ones. First, we offer evidence that a large majority of the recent rise in measured remittances may be illusory—arising from changes in measurement, not changes in real financial flows. 

Michael Clemens and David McKenzie
May 15, 2014

Migration and Development Research Is Moving Far beyond Remittances - Working Paper 365

Research on migration and development has recently changed, in two ways. First, it has grown sharply in volume, emerging as a proper subfield. Second, while it once embraced principally rural-urban migration and international remittances, migration and development research has broadened to consider a range of international development processes. These include human capital investment, global diaspora networks, circular or temporary migration, and the transfer of technology and cultural norms. We present a selection of frontier migrant-and-development research that instantiates these trends.

Michael Clemens , Çağlar Özden and Hillel Rapoport
Time for FAO to Shift to a Higher Gear
May 13, 2014

Time for FAO to Shift to a Higher Gear

In 2012, the Center for Global Development (CGD) convened the Working Group on Food Security, bringing together 22 experts in food policy, nutrition, agriculture, and economic development from around the world. The group’s task was to review pressing challenges to agricultural development and food security and take stock of the Rome-based United Nations food agencies charged with addressing them. The working group decided to focus on the largest of those agencies—the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)—and has two key recommendations.

May 13, 2014

On the Distributed Costs of Drug-Related Homicides - Working Paper 364

Reliable estimates of the effects of violence on economic outcomes are scarce. We exploit the manyfold increase in homicides in 2008-2011 in Mexico resulting from its war on organized drug traffickers to estimate the effect of drug-related homicides on house prices. 

Nicolas Ajzenman , Sebastian Galiani and Enrique Seira
May 2, 2014

Global Skill Partnerships: A Proposal for Technical Training in a Mobile World

Skilled workers emigrate from developing countries in rising numbers, raising fears of a drain on the human and financial resources of the countries they leave. This paper critiques existing policy proposals to address the development effects of skilled migration. It then proposes a new kind of policy tool to regulate skilled migration in a way that benefits origin countries, destination countries, and migrants. ‘Global skill partnerships’ are bilateral public-private agreements to link skill creation and skill mobility for mutual benefit. The paper describes how such an agreement might work in one profession (nursing) and one region (North Africa).

May 1, 2014

A Case against Taxes and Quotas on High-Skill Emigration - Working Paper 363

Skilled workers have a rising tendency to emigrate from developing countries, raising fears that their departure harms the poor. In response, researchers have proposed a variety of policies designed to tax or restrict high-skill migration. Those policies have been justified on grounds of efficiency—making migrants or destination countries liable for harm—as well as on grounds of equity or ethics. This paper challenges regulations of this kind, arguing that they are generally inefficient, inequitable, and unethical. It concludes by discussing a different class of policy intervention that, in contrast, has the potential to raise welfare.