International migration: economic causes, consequences, evaluation, and policies
Lucas, Robert E.B.
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The 70's have witnessed a number of events which are again focussing attention of economists on international migration: the dramatic emergence of the Middle East labor markets is affecting the economies of the low income Middle Eastern nations and of South Asia on a large scale; the world recession with its associated unemployment in North America and Western Europe has stimulated increased conservatism with regard to immigration policy; increasing tension in Southern Africa has raised interest in the continuing role of South Africa as a major employer of workers from neighboring countries; and the longstanding rhetoric against the brain-drain from poorer nations has persisted. The present paper attempts to provide a synopsis of some of the economic issues pertinent to the consideration of these phenomena, and is organized into four main sections. Section I deliberates some of the causes of international migration, drawing in part on the literature on internal migration. Section II then proceeds to consider some of the economic consequences of international migration. This section is subdivided into two parts: the first dealing with migration in promoting global and national productive efficiency -- a subject of much attention in economic theory; the second addressing some of the questions on international and internal distribution of incomes. Section III deals with an area in which almost no literature exists: building on the results of the previous sections, a framework for considering cost-benefit evaluation studies of international migration is briefly outlined. Finally, the fourth section discusses some of the policy instruments used today, or which might be adopted, for promoting, discouraging or changing the nature of international migration a discussion based on the summary of causes and consequences, and ultimately requiring some form of evaluation prior to implementation.
African Studies Center Working Paper No. 21
RightsCopyright © 1979, by the author.