Center for Global Development

The Center for Global Development (CGD) (website, Wikipedia page) is a “think and do tank” headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States that engages in both research and advocacy to shape and contribute to the discussion on international development, with specific focus on alleviating poverty.

CGD has two initiatives of note dealing with migration and development.

Improving Migration Data Initiative

Michael Clemens (more about him at the link) has pointed out that there is no dearth of research on the effect that immigration has on developed countries. However, there is less research on the effect that migration has on the migrants themselves, and on the non-migrants from their countries of origin. Further, some of the research that does exist (on the impact of migration on both source and target countries) places undue importance on national averages rather than flesh-and-blood individuals, hence suffers from problems due to compositional effects.

The Center for Global Development, specifically its Improving Migration Data Initiative, seeks to remedy these problems. CGD researchers including Michael Clemens and Lant Pritchett (more about him at the link) have come up with concepts such as place premium and income per natural that are changing the way people measure and think about the impact of migration. While Clemens and Pritchett are both pro-open borders, their research meets academic standards, and much of it is part of the peer-reviewed published literature.

Migration as a Tool for Disaster Recovery Initiative

CGD also has a Migration as a Tool for Disaster Recovery Initiative, which was instrumental in proposing emigration as a solution to Haiti’s woes in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and has advocated in general for emigration as disaster relief.

Supporting CGD

CGD is carrying out original and possibly paradigm-shifting research on the impact of migration on international development. A lot more people care about international development than about open borders per se. By elucidating the link between the two, CGD may lead to a greater shift toward support for freer immigration, at least among those who care for international development.

Unfortunately, there is no indication that this will lead to any shift in the long run immigration policies of any country. However, it might well lead to minor expansions in unskilled visas, and new visa categories specifically for people fleeing disaster zones.

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