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Globalizing with Their Feet: Opportunities & Costs of International Migration* Ian Goldin, World Bank November 16, 2005

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globalizing with their feet opportunities costs of international migration

Globalizing with Their Feet: Opportunities & Costs of International Migration*

Ian Goldin, World Bank

November 16, 2005

* Drawn from forthcoming book by Ian Goldin and Kenneth Reinert, Globalization for Development: Trade, Finance, Aid, Migration and Policy, World Bank and Palgrave Macmillan, 2006

slide 1 migration in history
Slide 1 - Migration in History
  • For centuries, people have migrated to improve their livelihood
  • Fundamental contribution to civilization and development
  • Levels now lower than at times in the past
  • But plays a vital role and is as politically complex and important as ever
  • Requires much more study and attention!
slide 2 migration as a global issue
Slide 2 - Migration as a Global Issue

There are nearly 200 million international migrants in 2005, including 9.2 million refugees. 1 in 35 people is an international migrant or 3% of the world’s population. Almost half the world’s international migrants are women (48.6%)

Where are the migrants?

56.1 million in Europe, 49.9 million in Asia, 40.8 million in North America, 16.3 million in Africa, 5.9 million in Latin America, 5.8 million in Australia

Which are the most important host countries?

USA, the Russian Federation, Germany, Ukraine, India

Which are the most important origin countries?

The Chinese, Indian and Filipino diasporas

slide 4 irregular migration
Slide 4 - Irregular Migration
  • An estimated 2.5 to 4 million migrants cross international borders without authorization each year
  • Some 500,000 undocumented migrants are estimated to arrive in Europe each year
  • An estimated 10 million migrants live in the USA with irregular status
  • An estimated 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked each year - Migrant smugglers and human traffickers make an estimated $10 billion profit each year

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

  • 6.5 million of the world’s 9.2 million refugees live in developing countries
  • From 2000 to 2004, the global refugee population decreased by 24%
  • From 1994 to 2003 some 5 million people applied for asylum in the industrialized countries; refugee or equivalent status was granted to 28% of them
  • In 2004, 676,000 applications for asylum were submitted in 143 countries; 83,000 refugees were resettled, mainly in the USA, Australia and Canada
slide 5 migration as a way to escape poverty
Slide 5 - Migration as a way to escape poverty
  • Today, millions still leave their homelands to seek opportunity abroad
  • Migration = a rational decision based on cost-benefit analysis
  • Yet there are unknown costs and benefits
  • “Pull” and “Push” factors
  • The resulting rich mix of peoples and ideas is the face of globalization itself.
slide 6 consequences for source countries
Slide 6 - Consequences for Source Countries

Benefits to Source Countries

  • Remittances: earnings that the emigrant workers send back to families and friends at home
  • Partial diffusion of social tensions
  • Benefits drawn from the social and business networks

Costs to Source Countries

  • “Brain drain”: loss of potential leaders and innovators can undermine the home economy’s dynamism and growth potential, and even its social cohesion
  • Deprivation of tax revenue
  • Social costs

In Ghana, 60% of doctors trained during the 1980s have left the country. Currently, there are only nine doctors for every 100,000 people in Ghana. In the UK, there are 160.

slide 7 consequences for destination countries
Slide 7 - Consequences for Destination Countries

Benefits to Destination Countries

  • Are these countries prospering because they welcome migrants, or do migrants come because these countries are prospering?

Costs to Destination Countries

  • Job competition
  • Impact on wages
  • Impact on government and society, public

services and tax revenue

  • Taxpayer-funded social services
  • Language and cultural differences and

other frictions

slide 9 remittances
Slide 9 - Remittances

Remittances to all developing countries in 2004 were estimated at about $160 billion. Globally, remittances sent through official channels are today second only to foreign direct investment (FDI) as a source of hard currency for developing countries.

Unlike most FDI, however, remittances are often distributed widely through the source country’s economy and have therefore a more powerful impact on poverty reduction.

Countries receiving remittances, 2003

(US$ billion)

slide 10 conclusion
Slide 10 - Conclusion
  • Today, more people around the world wish to migrate—and can migrate—than ever before in history
  • Global migration presents countries with problems and opportunities
  • Making migration work to the betterment of all countries and peoples is going to require international cooperation
  • How should countries adapt and how can they regulate effectively?