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Category Archives: Migration

Memo to the WHO: Blocking health worker migration is not the answer

This guest post is written by Michael Clemens and Amanda Glassman.

Through this Sunday, April 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking comments on its plans to monitor compliance with a global code of practice on the international migration of doctors and nurses.

We think there are better, cost-effective ways to improve health workforces in developing countries than compliance with this code that is self-contradictory, unlikely to help the poor, and…

Also posted in Academic research, Global health | 21 Comments

If North Dakota were Zambia…

The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday about the emptying out of the middle of the US. Controlling for ethnicity, the picture below shows in the darkest shades of red the greatest declines in the white population from 2000 to 2010:

What if we had a law that everybody had to stay in their home state? What if North Dakotans had to stay in North Dakota despite the collapsing economy there? Then…

24 Comments

The secret to fighting poverty is New Zealand

In a new World Bank blog post (h/t @poverty_action), economist David McKenzie explains why he thinks facilitating international migration should be at the top of everyone’s list of effective development interventions. Compared to microfinance, conditional cash transfer programs and cash grants to microentrepreneurs, a seasonal migration program in New Zealand produced WAY larger gains in annual income for program beneficiaries.

The good news doesn’t stop there. The usual fears for or about migrants—that…

Also posted in Academic research | 19 Comments

Why is nobody worried about the Asian brain drain?

Aid-financed scholarships for African students to study in the US or Europe would be worth a lot more than a million “capacity-building” projects. The usual argument against such scholarships is fear of brain drain — that the African students would not return home.

So why is nobody worried about brain drain of the gigantic numbers of Asian students studying in the US?

Source: Institute of International Education

Also posted in Cognitive biases | Tagged | 12 Comments

When the brain drain is healthy for democracy

The endurance of Indian democracy is one of the great Indian puzzles. How has a population so large, so ethnically and linguistically fragmented, and so economically unequal managed to sustain a participatory democracy since 1947? What forces have kept the country politically stable, enabling the rapid economic growth of the past two decades?

One intriguing answer comes from political scientist Devesh Kapur, who studies the political effects of skilled migration (the so-called brain…

Also posted in Academic research | 11 Comments

Chinatown

Many do not realize that New York’s thriving Chinatown is a suprisingly recent phenomenon.  Even during America’s open immigration years in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chinese were not welcome.  The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 formalized ugly prejudice.

New York’s Chinatown stayed very small, surrounded in the early 20th century by Italian and Jewish immigrants.

Even as late as 1950, Chinatown was small.

Chinese Exclusion stayed in effect de facto…

Also posted in Maps | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Do only democracies have anti-immigrant movements?

This great picture on changing share of foreign-born residents in the NYT today (showing countries with largest increase):

You can see why anti-immigration sentiment is a big deal in the European countries shown and in the US. (This is a descriptive statement, I myself hate xenophobia.)

But what about the countries at the top of the graph? Let’s exclude the special and controversial case of Israel from all the following statements.

Correct me if…

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news, Political economy | Tagged | 10 Comments

Before I was white

Nell Irvin Painter is an African-American historian at Princeton. I just finished her fascinating History of White People. The big story is what a slippery category “White” is, and how many today considered “White” used not to be.

My German and Scots-Irish ancestors, some of whom probably arrived as indentured servants (i.e. temporary slaves),  were called “guano” (birdsh*t) by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1851. Emerson of course placed Anglo-Saxon English at the top of the…

Also posted in Cognitive biases | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Foreign until proven American

Anti-immigration hysteria becomes law in Arizona.

Also posted in In the news | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Gujarati hotels and Chaldean liquor stores

UPDATE 2 (3/27, 8:24am EDT) Great academic paper on Jewish domination of the diamond trade (see end of post)

UPDATE (3/26, 12:34EDT) Great NYT mag article explaining the details of the Gujarati hotel story (see end of post)

I’ve long been fascinated by the Vietnamese nail salon phenomenon. My female friends report a remarkably high concentration of Vietnamese women in nail salons in US cities. I even heard there was a nail trade magazine for…

Also posted in Academic research, Economics principles, Entrepreneurship | Tagged | 16 Comments