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Migration and development, economic growth, aid effectiveness, economic history
Michael Clemens is co-director of migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, where he studies the economic effects and causes of migration around the world. He has published on migration, development, economic history, and impact evaluation, in peer-reviewed academic journals including the American Economic Review, and his research has been awarded the Royal Economic Society Prize. He also serves as a Research Fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany, an Associate Editor of the Journal of Population Economics and World Development. He is the author of the book The Walls of Nations, forthcoming from Columbia University Press. Previously, Clemens has been an Affiliated Associate Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University, a visiting scholar at New York University, and a consultant for the World Bank, Bain & Co., the Environmental Defense Fund, and the United Nations Development Program. He has lived and worked in Colombia, Brazil, and Turkey. He received his PhD from the Department of Economics at Harvard University, specializing in economic development, public finance, and economic history.
The headline in the Boston Globe on September 20, 2009 was catchy: "Billions of dollars and a Nobel Prize later, it looks like 'microlending' doesn’t actually do much to fight poverty." The article referred to the findings of two recent impact evaluations in microfinance in India and the Philippines conducted by researchers at MIT and Yale, respectively. The studies, which were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of microfinance interventions, found “weak and in some cases nonexistent effects” of microfinance on profits, expenditures and well-being. Privately and publicly, donors, MFIs and practitioners are expressing concern about the impact of these studies on the future of microfinance. Are they right to be worried?
The emigration of skilled workers from developing countries is often referred to as brain drain and considered something that should be limited. In this paper, resident fellow Michael Clemens takes the term to task and shows instead that a more open skill flow—a more accurate and neutral label—would both benefit home countries and guarantee workers the freedom that is the hallmark of development.
President Bush literally shoots for the stars in his 2004 budget with a 5.6 percent increase to NASA’s budget. He doesn't just want to win this fall; he wants a legacy. I wonder if he knows that Cadillac legacies are available at Pontiac prices.
Please see the bottom of this page for a preliminary and partial summary of the survey results.
The Center for Global Development (CGD) is conducting an anonymous mail survey of all African-born physicians in North America who are members of the American Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association, as well as several thousand African-born registered nurses in five US states. The survey will be conducted between May and July 2006.
CGD is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan research institute in Washington, DC. We do academic research on how rich countries' policies can do more to reduce poverty in the developing world. Most of our work, including this survey, is funded by independent philanthropists with no agenda other than supporting high-quality research relevant to policy. Learn more about CGD and its history, mission, and funders.
The purpose of the survey is to better inform academic research about the complex effects of the emigration of African professionals on their countries of origin. Frequently, public discussion of these effects focuses on simple effects, presumed to be negative--African health professionals who live abroad are not spending most of their time providing health care in Africa, whereas the positive effects tend to be ignored. Migrant professionals often send money to their home countries, travel back to their home countries, invest in their home countries, and sometimes move back permanently to their home countries with newly acquired skills and wealth. In this survey we hope to document and measure some of these more complex, positive effects. We thus ask questions about the extent of interaction African-born health professionals abroad have with their countries of origin.
We are conducting this survey purely for academic ends. The questionnaire is completely anonymous. We do not request, nor attempt in any way to obtain, the identity of survey respondents. Our only interest lies in estimating general characteristics of the entire population of African health professionals in North America, as a group.
Who is running the survey
This survey is being conducted by two CGD research staff members: Michael Clemens, PhD, and Gunilla Pettersson. Dr. Clemens is a Research Fellow at the Center. He received his doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 2002 and specializes in the study of economic development and economic history. Access Dr. Clemens' bio and writings. Ms. Pettersson is a Research Assistant at the Center, and holds her master's degree in economics from Oxford University. She has lived and worked in Lesotho and Malawi. If you have any questions about the survey we would be happy to discuss them with you; please get in touch with Ms. Pettersson by email at email@example.com.
Preliminary results for CGD survey of African physicians and nurses in the US and Canada
These preliminary results are intended for survey participants only and may not be cited. So far we have received 1600 responses to the CGD African-born physician survey and 230 responses to the CGD African-born nurse survey and we are very grateful to all survey participants. Simple averages for select questions from the two surveys for 390 and 124 physician and nurse respondents respectively, for which data have been entered are shown in the tables below. The final results will be published here in September 2006.
AVERAGES FOR SELECT VARIABLES FOR CGD AFRICAN-BORN PHYSICIAN SURVEY (partial results)
Average annual remittances: US$4,600Average year physicians began to live continuously in the U.S.: 1982Average share of physicians trained at home (i.e. in Africa): 53%Average share of physicians trained abroad (i.e. outside Africa): 47%Average share of responses from Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa): 58%Average share of responses from North Africa: 29%Average share of responses from South Africa: 13%Share of physicians providing medical care in their country of birth during the last 12 months: 8%
Preliminary numbers for 390 survey responses. Not for citation.Source: CGD survey of African-born physicians in Canada and the United States (2006).
AVERAGES FOR SELECT VARIABLES FOR CGD AFRICAN-BORN NURSE SURVEY (partial results)
Average annual remittance: US$4,720Average year nurses began to live continuously in the U.S.: 1990Average share of nurses trained at home (i.e. Africa): 26%Average share of nurses trained abroad (i.e. not Africa): 74%Average share of responses from Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa): 97.6%Average share of responses from North Africa: 0.8%Average share of responses from South Africa: 1.6%Share of nurses that provided medical care in their country of birth during the last 12 months: 6%
Preliminary numbers for 124 survey responses. Not for citation. Source: CGD survey of African-born nurses in the United States (2006).