What is known and not known about the links between migration and economic development? What is the potential of development assistance in enhancing these links?

The Swedish government’s policy on international development underlines the importance of considering the contribution of migrants to economic development. Sweden has also committed itself to contribute to improved cooperation on international migration by signing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR). However, current debates in Sweden on migration and development assistance often lacks a narrative about migration as an historically integral part of international development.

This publication from Delmi and The Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) synthesizes existing research on the links between migration and economic development. The research overview gives an overview of the magnitudes and drivers of migration, and the economic consequences of migration for developing countries. Much of the effects of migration on poverty alleviation and growth depend on the setting; the skill-levels of migrants, investments in infrastructure and education in developing countries and impediments to rural-urban migration.

The author also discusses how the role of migration in development can be considered in the design of development assistance. The evidence is mixed on whether development assistance increase growth, and on whether growth increase or decrease emigration pressures. Both the composition of aid and characteristics of the recipient country influence the effects of development assistance on migration and economic development.

The research overview is authored by Professor Robert E.B. Lucas, Boston University. The report was launched at a seminar on Monday, 19th August 2019 in Stockholm.