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Old 06-11-2009, 02:23 AM
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We at CGD just teamed up with Harvard University’s Center for International Development to address this question at an important research conference in Washington, called “Beyond the Fence.” It was generously supported by the new Foundation for an Open America and by the MacArthur Foundation.
Here are the four points they found:

  • CGD non-resident fellow Lant Pritchett argued that the case for the development benefits of migration may one day seem as obvious as the development benefits of trade — which were once deeply doubted by the mainstream. He also pointed out that while “who you were born as” matters less and less to your economic prospects, “where you were born” matters more and more.
  • Patricia Cortés and CGD non-resident fellow Michael Kremer, in separate papers, discussed fresh research on the effect of immigration on the decisions of native-born women to work outside the home. There is strong evidence that labor force participation by native-born women is higher when immigration makes it easier for them to get help with childcare, eldercare, and other work.
  • Ali Noorani gave an eye-opening lunchtime address on the policy complexities of immigration reform. While it’s common to say that a time of economic troubles is the wrong time to pursue reform, Noorani gave polling data suggesting that 72% of Americans want Congress to act on immigration reform this year.
  • Dean Yang and Sendhil Mullainathan, in separate papers, showed that the ways migrants can send money home has major effects on how much they send. When transfer mechanisms allow them to monitor how the money is spent, for example, they send far more.
The elephant in the room: global development. U.S. immigration policy transforms the lives of low-income people from all over the world, but you won’t hear much about them.
Global Development: Views from the Center » Blog Archive » Beyond the Fence: Fresh Ideas on How Immigration Policy Shapes Global Development
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