This chapter reviews the economics literature on return migration. It begins by documenting the extent of return migration and shows that it is far from negligible. It discusses the data challenges and the methodological hurdles in measuring return migration and tackling the double selectivity associated with the initial emigration and with the return. The chapter also provides a coherent framework on the determinants of return migration reviewing both the theoretical and empirical literature. Focusing then on the role played by returnees in the economic development of their country of origin, this chapter draws together the small scattered literature on the contribution of return migration in reducing credit constraints, allowing for brain circulation and gains, and transmitting of norms to sending economies. Yet it underscores the great need for better data measuring and capturing return migration.
This chapter surveys the economic literature on return migration. It summarises the theoretical determinants of return migration and the empirical evidence on the drivers of return. It then reviews the main implications of return migration. It also discusses the empirical challenges of measuring the determinants and consequences of return. This chapter underscores how the economic literature is focused on migrants who return of their own accord and therefore studies the individual decision to stay overseas or return home and its implications on the migrant and the country of origin. Overall, the evidence highlights the importance of return migration in entrepreneurship, human capital accumulation, the diffusion of knowledge and the transfer of norms to the country of origin.