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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.
This article presents a new perspective on the impact of migration and remittances on time allocation in migrant-sending families. It is a common finding that labor market participation is lower in migrant households. We look at the channels behind this stylized fact, by investigating if migration affects three main reasons for inactivity: (i) leisure consumption (ii) home production and (iii) higher education. Based on household survey data from Moldova, our results challenge the assertion that those who stay behind consume more leisure. Instead, living in a migrant household implies higher probabilities of intra-household labor substitution and home production. For adolescents in migrant families, we also find a substantially higher likelihood of university enrolment. Altogether, the higher levels of inactivity among migrant families can be attributed to education and housework activities, with little evidence for disincentive effects.
Corruption in hiring for public sector jobs is common in developing countries, and has been assumed to have a detrimental effect on delivery of government services. This paper provides a framework for understanding this type of corruption and demonstrates that it need not have negative consequences. Weaver collects original data from a hiring process for managerial positions in a developing country health bureaucracy, and finds that hires paid large bribes, averaging 17 months’ salary. He uses data on bribe offers to characterize the structure of these markets, showing that job allocations are made as if via a first-price, winner-pay, sealed bid auction. To establish the consequences of corruption, he estimates a structural model of entry to determine hires under counterfactual hiring procedures, such as standardized testing, and compares them to actual hires. For this comparison, Weaver identifies causal relationships between a set of hire characteristics and better delivery of health services. Based on these characteristics, actual hires are of comparable or superior quality to the hires under counterfactual systems, e.g. as compared to hires under a knowledge-based test, actual hires are 4.3-8.7 percentage points closer to the predicted optimal set of hires. Although hiring decisions are based primarily on bribes, hires are high quality because applicant wealth and willingness to pay for the position are strongly positively correlated with quality. Applying this to a general model of hiring, he identifies the environments in which corruption will lead to misallocation, discusses how anti-corruption efforts should be designed, and argues for a greater focus on hiring for mid-level government managers.
In this series of briefs, Center for Global Development experts present concrete, practical policy proposals that will promote growth and reduce poverty abroad. Each can make a difference at virtually no incremental cost to US taxpayers. Together, they can help secure America’s preeminence as a development and security power and partner.