Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Migration and Development in an Age of Growing Economic Inequality

For community and economic development, migration matters more than place at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: People develop, not places.

Subject Article: "Migration and Development Research Is Moving Far beyond Remittances."

Other Links: 1. "Reinventing Older Communities: Bridging Growth & Opportunity."
2. "The Determinants and Welfare Implications of US Workers' Diverging Location Choices by Skill: 1980-2000."
3. "The great escape: Emigration may not relieve pressure on wages in weak economies."

Postscript: An example of how migration is poorly understood in the realm of economic development:

The first (pervasive) misconception is that Africa  is urbanising exceptionally fast due to intensive rural-urban migration. This is simply not true. Africa’s rate of urbanisation (i.e. change in the percentage of Africans living in urban as opposed to rural areas) is far lower than that of East Asia, for example, and not unusually rapid by historical standards. However, what is true is that Africa’s urban population has been growing at an historically unprecedented rate for decades. It is important from a policy perspective to appreciate this distinction between rates of urbanisation and rates of urban population growth. Most policy makers don’t. ...

... From a practical perspective, the pressing challenges of providing adequate housing, infrastructure, employment opportunities and security in African cities relate to rapid urban population growth, not urbanisation. And yet governments and aid agencies have mistakenly sought to deal with these challenges by targeting rural-urban migration based on a misunderstanding of the dynamics shaping Africa’s urban transition. For those interested in easing demographic pressure in urban areas, the only humane policy option is to try to reduce population growth by promoting fertility decline through voluntary family planning initiatives. And for those interested in promoting economic development in the region, investment in urban areas should be top of the policy agenda.

Likewise, in US urban neighborhood policy, population decline is usually understood as a function of migration. Places growing in population are winning the vote with your feet election. Places with declining population suffer from brain drain. This misperception is rampant in the press and among policymakers, hindering our ability to address income inequality issues.

1 comment:

Allen said...

Speaking of Rochester + people develop, not places, I've noticed this sort of thing over the years. It seems to originally come out of IBM locating in Rochester, MN. Then at one point they were going to consolidate some groups including their hard drive / storage group.

Naturally most of the brains didn't want to leave. That's right, they desired 7 months of winter + farm culture in a regional town over a wonderful Mediterranean climate and a butt-ton of culture and other stuff. So some other companies opened up offices in Rochester to cherry pick these folks.

30-40 years later - countless buyouts, mergers, moves, etc - and Rochester, MN still have storage companies with offices in town more or less because they need these people. Surely by now most of the original IBMers have retired and we're on a 2nd or 3rd generation of storage solutions engineers.

It's an important cluster the city seems to bend over backward to ignore. Instead they're focused on Destination Medical Center, downtown and the UofM-Rochester. Basically just planning on pouring concrete and riding Eds and Meds.

As the great Kurt Vonnegut wrote, so it goes.


Then in November 2006, Allentown, Penn.-based Agere Systems opened a 6,000-square-foot office at 3033 41st St. N.W. Agere hired a team of 10 local storage design engineers that formerly worked for Maxtor Corp.'s Rochester office. That office closed in 2006 when Maxtor was acquired by Seagate Technologies.