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Policy Coherence for Development 2007

Migration and Developing Countries

image of Policy Coherence for Development 2007

This edition of the Development Centre's annual report on policy coherence focuses on migration. The book examines the costs and benefits of migration for developing countries and how these flows can be better organised to yield greater benefits for all parties concerned -- migrant-sending countries, migrant-receiving countries, and the migrants themselves. It takes stock of what we know about the effects of migration on development, and distills from that knowledge a set of policy recommendations for sending and receiving countries alike. It draws on a large number of country and regional case studies co-ordinated by the OECD Development Centre to illustrate the mechanisms that link migration and development: labour-market effects, brain drain, remittances, diaspora networks and return migration.

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Remittances and the Reduction of Vulnerability

OECD Development Centre

Migrant remittances were estimated at $232 billion in 2005, 72 per cent going to developing countries. Although data are incomplete and not wholly reliable, these sums exceed official development assistance, foreign direct investment and private debt flows. Remittances affect household livelihoods and national economies alike. Evidence suggests that they can reduce the depth of poverty, although they can increase inequality. In practice, the low skilled remit more than their higher-skilled compatriots, although this is also a function of length of stay abroad and whether family accompanies the migrant. Remittances are often used for consumption purposes rather than investment, although such expenditures (e.g. for health care or schooling) should rightly be seen as productive in many settings. Remittances, both formal and informal, are of major benefit to non-migrants as well as migrants’ families, as they can have a multiplier effect on the community.

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