by Michael Clemens
Center for Global Development – Working Paper 359, March 2014

52 pp. 1.0 MB:
http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/does-development-reduce-migration_final_0.pdf

Basic economic theory suggests that as poor countries get richer, fewer people want to leave. This idea captivates policymakers in international aid and trade diplomacy. But a long research literature and recent data suggest something very different: Over the course of a “mobility transition”, emigration typically rises with economic development—at least until poor countries reach upper-middle income level, like Algeria or El Salvador. Emigration typically falls only as countries become even richer. This note measures the mobility transition in every decade since 1960, surveys 45 years of research on why it

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