July 08, 2013 | Contribution by
Program Director of Migration, IZA
Passport Immigration Photos
CC Image courtesy of Thomas Hawk on Flickr
In developed countries, vocal debates about how much immigration is desirable often make the headlines, but what’s the case for migration in the developing world? We recently discussed this topic with one of the leading experts on the economics of migration—Amelie Constant
, Program Director of Migration at the Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn), and a visiting professor at George Washington University and Temple University. She says that in principle, all countries—rich and poor, senders and receivers—should benefit from migration flows. But problems occur when there are barriers to free markets, often in the form of government policy restrictions. How about a possible brain drain for the sending country? Constant says a major offsetting factor is remittances, which have a record of being resilient over time and business cycles. But it is important that these funds be used to upgrade the skills and educational level of the general population, improve the financial markets, and diversify away from a heavy reliance on agriculture.