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CGD provides rigorous research and innovative policy approaches that enable migrants, refugees, and host communities to prosper.
The Center for Global Development’s (CGD) Program on Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy is focused on ensuring that everyone on the move realizes their full potential. We work to maximize the benefits of migration to destination and origin countries, expand the opportunities available to forcibly displaced people, and reform the humanitarian system to better serve the needs of those affected by conflict and crisis.
We recognize that human mobility can have positive and negative effects, depending on policy choices. We therefore work with policymakers around the world to create sustainable, pragmatic, and evidence-based policies for everyone on the move.
Skilled workers have a rising tendency to emigrate from developing countries, raising fears that their departure harms the poor. In response, researchers have proposed a variety of policies designed to tax or restrict high-skill migration. Those policies have been justified on grounds of efficiency—making migrants or destination countries liable for harm—as well as on grounds of equity or ethics. This paper challenges regulations of this kind, arguing that they are generally inefficient, inequitable, and unethical. It concludes by discussing a different class of policy intervention that, in contrast, has the potential to raise welfare.
A yearlong project of the Ford Foundation has asked a simple question—“What is inequality?”—to CGD’s Michael Clemens along with a group including Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz, Gloria Steinem, Sir Richard Branson, and Sir Elton John. Many spoke about rising domestic inequality. But to Clemens, #InequalityIs global. And innovative policy can tap the power of migration to reduce inequality while minimizing its risks.
Large international differences in the price of labor can be sustained by differences between workers, or by natural and policy barriers to worker mobility. We use migrant selection theory and evidence to place lower bounds on the ad valorem equivalent of labor mobility barriers to the United States. Natural and policy barriers may each create annual global losses of trillions of dollars.
Traditional measures of development divide the world into categories such as developed and developing, rich and poor, and North and South. While indexes such as CGD’s Commitment to Development Index (CDI) can be useful for roughly defining which countries contribute the most to helping the world’s poorest, it is more difficult to account for rising countries like Brazil, China, and India that are improving their commitments to a to a more fair and prosperous global order. Which countries are going above and beyond in their commitments to global citizenship?