The Dominican Republic has historically been a country of destination for migrants, but over time has shifted to become a net emigration country. In recent years, the country’s economic growth has been one of the strongest in the region, driving improvements in a number of key development indicators. Despite this, people continue to leave the Dominican Republic; today an estimated 1.3 million Dominicans live overseas – 12% of the population. The earnings they send home contributed 8% to the national income in 2015 – a sum of over USD 5.2 billion. The country also continues to attract immigrants, who now constitute 4% of the population.

These significant migration and remittance flows embody significant development potential, but this opportunity is not fully reflected in the country’s policy framework. There is scope to further include migration in the development policy agenda. More empirically based evidence is crucial to ensure that policy responses in the field of migration and development are coherent and well-informed.

In 2013, the OECD Development Centre and the European Commission launched a project to provide empirical evidence on the interrelations between public policies, migration and development (IPPMD) in ten countries around the world, including the Dominican Republic. The findings from the Dominican Republic, outlined in this report, are the culmination of four years of fieldwork, empirical analysis and policy dialogue conducted in collaboration with the Development Centre and the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Sociales (CIES), and with strong support from the Ministerio de Economía, Planificación y Desarrollo.

The report explores the links between the various dimensions of migration and key policy sectors – the labour market, agriculture, education, and investment and financial services – in the Dominican Republic. It analyses both the impact of migration on these sectors, as well as the impact of these policy sectors on migration outcomes, such as the decision to migrate, the sending and use of remittances, the success of return migration and the integration of immigrants. The empirical analysis draws on quantitative data collected from surveys of 2 037 households and 54 communities, enriched by 21 qualitative stakeholder interviews, and discussions with key stakeholders and policy makers.

This report is published in parallel with nine other country reports – presenting the findings from the other IPPMD partner countries – and a comparative report. The comparative report provides a cross-country overview drawing on the data and analysis in the ten partner countries. The Dominican report is intended as a baseline for improving understanding of the role of public policies in the migration and development nexus in the Dominican Republic. It also aims at fostering policy dialogue and providing guidance on how best to integrate migration into national development strategies. Building on discussions with key stakeholders and policy makers in the Dominican Republic, the OECD Development Centre and CIES look forward to continuing their co-operation to enhance the positive contribution of migration to the nation’s sustainable development.

Mario Pezzini

Director of the Development Centre and Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Development, OECD

Wilfredo Lozano

Executive Director

Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Sociales, La Universidad Iberoamericana