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07 nov 2015

MRS No. 5 - Harnessing the Potential of Migration and Return to Promote Development

This paper provides a state-of-the-art literature review and is intended to stimulate discussions around some of the most salient issues concerning the relationship between migration, return, and development. It outlines the operational framework and research strategy that will be used to investigate this relationship in an ongoing research project focused on West Africa.

The report first presents an overview of the contemporary trends in international migration, or more precisely intercontinental migration, regarding this geographical region. It then discusses the consequences that such migration s can have on domestic labour markets, the effects of migrant remittances, and the brain drain phenomenon. The return of migrants is addressed in a separate section because this part of the migration process deserves special attention if a better understand of the migration process is sought. The developmental impacts of potential capital transfers occurring with return, and particularly the transfer of financial, human and social capital, are discussed in the subsequent section. Finally, the last section of this paper presents elements for a meso-level approach to study these issues in order to achieve an improved understanding of the highly complex relationship between international migration, return and development.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Contemporary trends in migration: the case of West Africa
  • Consequences of international migration
  • The study of return and transnational migration: methodological issues
  • Development implications of different forms of capital transfer
  • Elements for a meso-level approach to migration, return and development
  • Linking micro and macro perspectives
  • Notes
  • References