Migration, Data in Hand

A starting point for judging migratory phenomena, leaving irrationality aside. A report from the World Bank.

Versione Italiana

It is estimated that 2.3 percent of the population lives outside their country of origin, a figure that is the result of a variety of factors, including climate change, wars and the desire for higher wages that allow for a dignified life.

The percentage is still of little importance in absolute terms, even if it is growing, yet it arouses anxiety and alarm in large sections of public opinion in various Western countries, an attitude which stands in clear contrast with what is being learned from scientific research, which instead highlights the positive aspects of migration.

Starting from the data in the World Development Report 2023: Migrants, Refugees, and Societies, to formulate an elaborate illustration of the situation, the “Match and Motive Matrix”, two economists from the World Bank, Quiy-Toan Do and Çalgar Özed, address the theme of migration in the terms in which it appears today.

The project consists of a graph, where the characteristics and capabilities of the migrants, the needs of the recipient countries, and the motivations at the origin of the migrations are intertwined.

According to what we read on the World Bank website, the Matrix offers policy makers a powerful tool, integrating many key migration-related issues into one graph.

Using this graph, the report analyzes situations in which the benefits that migration brings to the arrival country’s market exceed the costs involved in integration, underlining how, in these cases, the recipient countries must engage in policies that facilitate access to work for migrants, recognizing their potential contribution to the societies and countries where they arrive.

However, according to the two scholars, migration should be discouraged when the costs exceed the benefits, and in the case of an anomalous development of irregular migration, the responsibilities and costs deriving from the presence of refugees should be shared with the international community.

The project therefore shows a summary of how policies related to migration should be the subject of a rational analysis of costs and benefits, and not the result of a casual, albeit generous, impulse dictated by desperation and lack of clarity.

The article also highlights that

A large body of research documents traditional factors driving migration, such as large wage disparities between countries, but significant uncertainties remain.

The “World Development Report 2023” sheds light on three aspects that are new compared to what has already been highlighted by past studies, and which will play a key role in migration dynamics: demographic changes, climate changes, and conflicts similar to the wars underway in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Regarding demography, fertility rates are falling, while life expectancy is rising, not only in high-income countries, but also in middle-income countries, which are transforming from countries where migratory flows originated into destination countries for those flows, following the shortage of adults of working age compared to what the market requires. A shortage that can be, and will increasingly be, compensated for by those arriving from low-income countries, where the average age continues to be low.

Fertility rate (number of children per woman)

As for climate change, this field of research requires more thorough investigations. Just think of the forty percent of the world population that lives in countries that are vulnerable precisely because of climate change.

Quiy-Toan Do and Çalgar Özed underline how these mobility variables are often connected to each other, as are the resulting critical issues that develop in these countries that are suffering the simultaneous adverse phenomena – the consequences of declining demographics, poverty and the difficulties brought about by climate change.

According to the two scholars, effective international cooperation would offer suitable policies and tools to address the multiplicity and contemporaneity of these serious, unprecedented phenomena in their interweaving and interaction, which loom over the planet and humanity as a whole.

Translation by Paul Rosenberg

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Migration, Data in Hand ultima modifica: 2024-02-09T20:00:00+01:00 da CAMILLA GHIGGI
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