The Economic Impact of Forced Migration
The refugee crisis currently, is a catastrophe affecting millions of families, endangering the stability of nations that are hosts to large numbers of migrants, and of the surrounding regions. There is little likelihood at present that large numbers of forced migrants will return to their homes. Managing the crisis and mitigating its worst effects requires courage, leadership and political will. A cold-eyed economic assessment such as attempted in this chapter can only help clarify the choices facing political action, not substitute for the willingness to undertake it. Drawing on the literature on voluntary and forced migration as well on the recent field experience of international agencies, the chapter has identified the centrality of finding jobs for forced migrants, and has highlighted the difficulty of doing this in poor, low-capacity environments, and where public services and the political fabric are fragile to start with. This chapter shows, at the same time, concerns that accepting forced migrants in advanced countries will cause job losses or falling wages, and place an undue burden on the public purse are largely unjustified, and that the global gains from forced migrants settling in the South are much smaller than migrants settling in the North, and may result in net welfare losses in some instances. Forced migration flows which are mismanaged, as at present, create large negative political and economic externalities for the world as a whole.