Globalization, Development and International Migration: A Cross-National Analysis of Less-Developed Countries, 1970-2000

Matthew R. Sanderson, Lehigh University
Jeffrey Kentor, University of Utah

It is widely argued that globalization and economic development are associated with international migration. However, these relationships have not been tested empirically. We use a cross-national empirical analysis to assess the impact of global and national factors on international migration from less-developed countries. An analytical framework is developed that uses several modeling techniques to analyze panel data on a set of less-developed countries from 1970 to 2000. Three central findings emerge from these analyses. First, foreign direct investment has a significant, differential effect across sectors of the economy. Second, economic development has a significant, nonlinear effect on net emigration levels (the so-called “migration hump”). Finally, we find a strong cumulative causation effect of migration, meaning that migration has a strong internal momentum once it has been initiated. The implications of the findings are discussed in the context of contemporary migration theory.

  See paper

Presented in Session 88: International Migration Systems