International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development
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International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development

Edited by Robert E.B. Lucas

This Handbook summarizes the state of thinking and presents new evidence on various links between international migration and economic development, with particular reference to lower-income countries. The connections between trade, aid and migration are critically examined through global case studies.
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Chapter 12: Return migration and economic development

Jackline Wahba


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.

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