Migration, Trade and Remittances: Low- and High-Skilled Workers

Philip L. Martin


International migration involves the movement of people over national borders, while international trade deals with the production of goods or services in one country and their consumption in another. Economic theory assumes that migration and trade are substitutes, so that freer trade between countries with different wage levels should reduce voluntary migration as trade leads to convergence in wages. However, free-trade agreements can produce a migration hump as the pace of change accelerates and economies adjust, as migration increases before investment creates enough jobs to generate stay-at-home development despite remittances from migrants abroad. Efforts to deal with the root causes of migration must be aware of potential migration humps.


Remittances; development; high-skilled workers; trade; migration humps

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