Among the many challenges that the world faces today, one is of particular relevance to international migration and development. The world faces significant demographic changes affecting the future developmental prospects of both developed and less developed countries. More developed countries are simultaneously facing low fertility rates and ageing populations, while less developed countries, in contrast, are experiencing higher birth rates and a significant “youth bulge.”

The fiscal, social, economic and political implications of these imbalances are obvious for both developed and less developed countries, while the policy interventions to attenuate these impacts, however, are not so obvious. More developed countries, for instance could increase productivity levels, significantly increase the age of retirement and eligibility for benefits and could potentially use other tax revenues to fund benefits. For less developed countries the policy choices are basically reduced to interventions seeking to increase the rate of economic growth in order to incorporate younger generations into the labour market and to expand the state’s capacities to provide basic social services such as health and education.

One of the single most accommodative policies that could potentially address these challenges is international migration. On average, migrants tend to be young people seeking for the most part better economic prospects to support their families. Migrants moving from countries with high unemployment rates, and dire prospects to better their lives, to countries with an increasing ageing population and low fertility rates could not only balance out these demographic imbalances but also improve the developmental prospects of both developed and less developed countries.


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