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CGD provides rigorous research and innovative policy approaches that enable migrants, refugees, and host communities to prosper.
The Center for Global Development’s (CGD) Program on Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy is focused on ensuring that everyone on the move realizes their full potential. We work to maximize the benefits of migration to destination and origin countries, expand the opportunities available to forcibly displaced people, and reform the humanitarian system to better serve the needs of those affected by conflict and crisis.
We recognize that human mobility can have positive and negative effects, depending on policy choices. We therefore work with policymakers around the world to create sustainable, pragmatic, and evidence-based policies for everyone on the move.
We highlight a lesser known consequence of China’s growth and integration into the world economy in relation to the United States: the rise of services trade. We demonstrate that the US’s trade deficit in goods cycle back as a surplus in exports of education services. Focusing on China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, we show that Chinese cities more exposed to this trade liberalization episode sent more students to US universities.
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Refugee-hosting countries will experience less growth in 2020 due to the pandemic
WASHINGTON, DC - Refugees are more likely to work in sectors financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and refugee-hosting countries are projected to experience slower growth in 2020, new analysis released by the Center for Global Development, Refugees International, and the International Rescue Committee finds.
In this analysis, authors calculated and compiled estimates from eight large refugee-hosting countries with available representative data: Colombia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Peru, Turkey, and Uganda. The data analyzed are largely from 2015-2019, where researchers could extract comparable statistics across countries. This paper represents the largest quantitative cross-country comparison of refugees: 10.64 million, or 37 percent of all refugees worldwide.
The researchers found that the main hosting countries will fare worse economically post-2020, compared with other developing nations and world averages. Specific findings include:
60 percent of employed refugees work in highly-impacted sectors, relative to 37 percent of host populations.
Refugees are therefore 60 percent more likely than host populations to work in sectors of the economy impacted most by COVID-19.
Only 7 percent of refugees work in the least impacted sectors, like education and public administration, compared to 19 percent of hosts.
Refugee women are at a particular disadvantage; in the Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa regions where refugee women are most likely to work, they are over-represented in highly impacted sectors.
The 15 low- and middle-income countries with the largest refugee populations were growing slower than other low- and middle- income countries before the pandemic and are projected by the IMF to experience almost equal declines in 2020.
“Refugees tend to be disproportionately affected by this crisis, because so few work in the less-affected sectors like education, public administration, health, and agriculture,” Helen Dempster, CGD’s Assistant Director and Senior Associate for Policy Outreach for Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy, says. “Both legal and practical barriers often prevent refugees from getting the land or citizenship required of more recession-proof work.”
“Expanding economic inclusion for refugees is necessary to reduce the negative impacts of this and future pandemics,” Refugees International’s Labor Market Access Program Assistant Martha Guerrero Ble said. “Labor market access in hosting countries can reduce the spread of the pandemic, provide more ‘essential workers,’ and stimulate the economic recovery for the benefit of the population as a whole.”
“Within host countries, refugees face barriers to entering the formal workforce and are often excluded from social safety nets and other work-related benefits,” said Barri Shorey, senior director of economic recovery and development, International Rescue Committee. “Now as COVID-19 wreaks havoc across economies, the cracks are further showing. The most vulnerable are disproportionately impacted and those refugees who have been able to make progress, have been sent back to worry about meeting their most basic needs. Building back from COVID-19 must work for everyone. In doing so, refugees can regain their livelihoods and host countries can benefit from newfound economic growth”.
The paper is available here, along with appendix data: https://www.cgdev.org/publication/locked-down-and-left-behind-impact-covid-19-refugees-economic-inclusion.
About CGD: The Center for Global Development is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to reduce global poverty and improve lives through innovative economic research that drives better policy and practice by the world's top decision makers. https://www.cgdev.org/page/about-cgd
About Refugees International: Refugees international advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises. We do not accept any government or UN funding, ensuring the independence and credibility of our work. Learn more at www.refugeesinternational.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
About IRC: The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.
The immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, such as that the typhoon which devastated part of the Phillipines on Friday, can bring out the best of the global community. There will come a time to discuss how we can do more to prevent the environmental changes which make such events more likely; but the immediate priority is to get water, food and shelter to people who urgently need it.
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.
The authors argue that many reform initiatives in developing countries fail to achieve sustained improvements in performance because they are merely isomorphic mimicry. They present a new framework for breaking out of capability traps.
As President Obama convenes an important global summit on refugees, and world leaders at the UN General Assembly address the burgeoning issue of migration and forced displacement, we’ve taken a closer look at how the richest countries in the world support development and the alleviation of poverty through their migration policies. Migration is one of the seven components of our Commitment to Development Index, an annual exercise to marshall millions of data points to track how rich country policies affect the world’s poorest people and places, across seven different policy areas.
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.
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.