The Migration-Development Nexus

Evidence and Policy Options

image of The Migration-Development Nexus

This paper presents an overview of current thinking and available evidence on the migration development nexus and includes an assessment of the intended and unintended consequences of development interventions and the role of humanitarian aid in migrant producing areas. Four critical issues are analyzed: poverty and migration; conflicts, refugees, and migration; migrants as a development resource; aid and migration.



Migration and development - Is there a link?

The current relationship between migration and development has rightly been characterized as an “unsettled” one (Papademetriou and Martin, 1991). Since the publication of the influential Ascencio report, a new consensus has arisen that rather than stemming or containing migration pressure, development can stimulate migration in the short term by raising people’s expectations and by enhancing the resources that are needed to move (Ascencio, 1990; see also OECD, 1992; IOM, 1996). Some of the work known as the “new economics of migration” suggests that the demand for remittances from migrants, for example, increases as development proceeds and both investment opportunities and returns on investment increase: by enhancing development, remittances may therefore propel or perpetuate migration. Put another way, there is a “migration hump” that has to be overcome before people are encouraged to stay put by the development of their homelands and migration begins to decline (Martin, 1997; Martin and Taylor, 2001; Martin and Widgren, 2001). Accompanying this view, models of migration based on economic forces such as pull and push factors have been supplemented by approaches recognizing mediating factors such as social networks, improved communication and transportation linkages, trade competition between countries, government migration policies, and violent conflicts within countries, yielding a more dynamic analysis of how migrations begin, how and why they stop or continue, and the extent to which migration can be controlled.


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