Guide Migration and Poverty (Directions in Development)

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In Brazil, the migratory reversal began in the s Ripoll, The country experienced a net loss of approximately 1. This volume of emigration was significant and accounted for 1.

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The process of conversion into an emigration nation continued in the following decade. The international migration balance in the period was also negative, estimated at , people. This figure corresponded to 0. Despite a reduction in international migration in the s, most of the emigrants who left Brazil in the s never returned to country, giving rise to a significant group of Brazilians living abroad, a phenomenon which some authors refer to as "Brazilian Diaspora".

In recent years that number has nearly doubled: The main areas of residence are: North America mainly the United States - 1. The emigration of Brazilians should be associated with the growing interdependence between nations and countries fostered by the expansion of the world economic system Sales, The progress of the media the internet, mobile telephony , the decrease in transportation costs especially air transport , the expansion of the activities of transnational corporations, the gradual reduction of barriers tariffs and non-tariff measures, export taxes, subsidies , which facilitated the intensification of the flow of goods, services and capital between national economies, all contributed to increase international population movements.

Globalization has a profound influence on international migration. George Martine , p. The migrant lives in a world where globalization has no boundaries, changes parameters every day, boasts luxuries, lavishes information, stimulates consumption, generates dreams and ultimately creates expectations of a better life. Although globalization is partially unfinished - since there is not a global labor market - thanks to the growing interdependence among nations labor supply and demand in Brazil were entwined with the global economy.

The interesting problem, which is associated with migration, is the economic impact of international movements to the country of origin. The connection between intraregional migration and also inter-regional migration and economic development has been deeply explored and studied in the Brazilian literature 5 , but international migration is still a relatively new area of study. Therefore, there is the need to identify the possible consequences of emigration to the Brazilian economy.

This paper aims to describe the links between emigration and economic development in the country of origin in the Brazilian context. The text is organized in four parts. It starts with an introduction presenting the main theories of international migration, relating them to the process of international population movement in Brazil. The description of these theories has been absolutely necessary in understanding the evolution of migration, but also in the analysis of the economic consequences of emigration, which is provided in the second part of the article.

Next a summary of the most important contributions in the area of migration and development is presented, focusing on studies that analyze the economic effects of remittances to the regions of origin. Finally, these studies are related to Brazil's situation, presenting the latest data on remittances and the possible consequences of their influx for the country. A hypothesis is formulated that in the current emigration scene the Brazilian economy is expected to benefit from remittances coming from the Diaspora. Migration theories in the Brazilian context. Neide Patarra states that international migration theories can be classified into two groups: In this sense, one should start the analysis of the theoretical models that explain the migration of Brazilians from these concepts, which determine how the movement started.

Of that group, the best known is the neoclassical perspective, which highlights the unequal international distribution of capital and labor as the main factor of population movements at the macroeconomic level. There are, therefore, countries with more and less capital: The neoclassical approach also explains the behavior of migrants at the micro level: In this context it may be no surprise that in the s, Brazil - at that time a relatively low income country -began to witness the migration to rich and industrialized countries like the United States and Japan.

The crisis in the domestic economy, which contrasted with the relatively sound situation in the economies of developed countries, can certainly be considered the factor that triggered the migration process. This movement was perceived by many Brazilians as an investment with higher financial returns, which offered a national professional career, since emigration was associated with a higher standard of living Ferreira, According to the new economics of migration, the population movement should be analyzed in the context of existing labor market imperfections in developing countries which are the largest exporters of labor , but also in other markets: Therefore, the family unit, which in this approach is considered the main economic agent, has a strategy different from that described in the neoclassical theory.

Instead of maximizing their needs, here the main objective is to minimize the economic risk. Thus, the logic of allocation of family assets will turn into diversification of the resources available. The main resource of the family unit is work. Researchers representing the approach of the new economics of migration emphasize that the population movement overseas is a form of investment and therefore requires resources that are not available in all family units.

Migrants do not belong to the poorest segments of society - they are those people who are in a situation of relative deprivation cf. Relatively deprived people suffer from the recent reduction of income level. Consequently, the standard of living of this group is lower when compared with the previous situation and with reference groups.

Migration can contribute to increase income and improve the economic status of the family unit in society.


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The concept of relative deprivation is absolutely necessary for understanding the migration of Brazilians since the s. Ricardo Ferreira points out the prevalence of "limited people" in migration flows to the United States, Japan and European countries. This group includes people from the "impoverished middle class", which in the situation of "impossibility of social rise [ Another important contribution is the dual labor market theory Patarra, , also known as the labor market segmentation theory Fusco, Originally proposed by Michael Piore , it highlights as the main factor of international population movements, the forces of attraction in destination societies.

In developed countries there is the bifurcation of the labor market: On the other hand, the secondary labor market is unstable, provides low-wage jobs and unfavorable working conditions. Therefore, native workers reject jobs in the secondary sector. In this sense, immigration to developed countries is caused by a demand for unskilled labor: The dual market theory is essential for understanding the migration of Brazilians to some developed countries such as Spain or the United States.

According to Erika Ripoll , p. When characterizing the socioeconomic situation of Brazilian immigrants in Massachusetts United States , Ana Cristina Martes points out that the vast majority work in home cleaning services - a predominantly Brazilian and female market niche. These immigrants "are willing to accept these occupations because the wages, when compared to those in their countries of origin, are high and the prestige that matters is that of their country of origin" Ripoll, , p. It is worth adding that the vast majority of Brazilians abroad work and live illegally in the destination country.

In the theories that explain the perseverance of migration and its continuity over time, an aspect to be highlighted is the importance of social networks, also known as migratory networks. The networks "consist of ties that connect migrants, pioneer migrants, and potential migrants in the areas of origin and destination through kinship, friendship and common origin" Fusco, , p. These connections enable the flow of capital and information on living conditions and employment opportunities in the countries of destination.

Thus, they help new migrants adapt to the new environment and increase the likelihood of future migration flows. An interesting example of how the networks operate is the case of Brazilian immigrants in Massachusetts, who sell their home cleaning services. When a female immigrant is willing to return to Brazil, information on the "sale" of the homes where the cleaning woman works is spread through the migratory networks.

The woman "buying" the job is introduced to the homeowner as a friend of the cleaning woman, capable of replacing her. Trust and ethnic solidarity among Brazilian immigrants are recognized as major factors in this type of transaction Domingo, Wilson Fusco points out that the theory of social networks is essential in explaining why the migration of Brazilians does not occur uniformly throughout the country.

There are therefore some regions with a high concentration of emigrants linked by migratory networks with specific destination areas. The best known example in the national literature is the case of the city of Governador Valadares state of Minas Gerais. The majority of emigrants from that city went to the metropolitan area of Boston, Massachusetts.

When analyzing social networks, Teresa Sales highlights the role of evangelical churches which, in addition to offering pastoral care, play the role of intermediaries between the regions of origin and destination, assisting emigrants in their search for a job or solving administrative issues, and guiding them on how to get a passport or a visa. International migration and economic development: The analysis of the relation between population movements and development raises the fundamental question: What is the direction of the relation between these two processes?

The debate on the economic impacts of migration involved the false assumption that population movements were caused by lack of development: However, international migration, which linked sending and receiving regions, should enable the economic growth of the area of origin through remittances and investments by the Diaspora.

Consequently, economic development in the sending region should reduce migration. This line of thinking is still present in the migration policy of developed countries, especially in the European Union. Countries like Spain or Italy face the challenge of mass illegal immigration. The main objective of these programs is to create jobs in the sending region, thereby limiting migration to Europe. Migration theories, such as the new migration economics, point out, however, that it is not the poorest who emigrate.

Migration, especially at international level, should be considered as a form of investment: Therefore, in the beginning the migration flow is dominated by individuals who belong, as in the Brazilian case, to the "impoverished middle class", i. The gradual economic development in the area of origin is associated with progress in education and the enrichment of the population.

Hence the growth of the group endowed with the financial resources and access to information necessary to emigrate. Some researchers, such as Hein De Haas , point out that migration should be considered a process naturally linked to and part of a broader process, i. Development has a profound influence on migration, the phenomenon described in the literature as "migration hump". In the early stages of economic growth, the level of migration rises with the increase in per capita income.

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The number of people with enough income to bear travel costs and pay for accommodation in the new destination increases alongside the enrichment of the population. Only in high-income nations, i. In this sense, the evolution of the migratory pattern in Brazil confirms the hypothesis of "migratory rise". In the s and s, when the emigration process started, the country was considered a low-income economy.

Thus, the level of international migration was still modest. However, the dynamic development of the Brazilian economy in recent years should stimulate international migration by Brazilians, a fact that can already be seen, for in the period the number of Brazilian immigrants grew from 2 million to 3. Thus, it should be added that the relationship between these two processes has a complex character.

Migration can influence the economic development of the country of origin, but economic development - as demonstrated in the case of Brazil - also influences migration. This issue becomes even more important when we realize that in recent years, migration has been perceived as a phenomenon that can be managed and used in the economic policy of sending countries. The growing popularity of the pro-migratory orientation of some developing economies can be attributed to the phenomenon of transnationalism, which can be defined as "a process in which immigrants create and maintain multidimensional social relations that entwine their origin and destination societies" Bash et al.

What we have, therefore, is a growing number of emigration countries mobilizing the potential of Diasporas, which they see as the contributing force to national development. Special mention should be made of the importance of associations of migrants, which in addition to providing advice may be directly involved in development programs in the communities of origin Zoomers et al. All these efforts to include migration in economic policy are associated with the assumption that migration can contribute positively to the development of the country of origin of immigrants.

This optimistic approach has prevailed in the economic debate in the last years. However, there is also the pessimistic approach, based on the assumption that the most skilled individuals are the ones who emigrate: Considered as such, migration is a phenomenon associated with loss for sending States, thus contributing to the aggravation of poverty. These contradictory approaches have been present in the analysis of the relationship between economic development and population movement in the international context since the s De Haas, Since it is impossible to analyze all aspects of this discussion in a single article, in the next section we shall review the best known aspect in the literature of migration and development - the impact of remittances on the economy of the sending country.

Remittances and development in the country of origin. The most obvious and visible economic effect of emigration for the country of origin is the influx of remittances. The family unit diversifies the resources available: Emigrants contribute to the household budget of those who stay in the country of origin by transferring part of their earnings.

They also adopt the individual strategy of diversifying resources by investing part of the capital saved in the country of origin and part in the destination country. In this context, remittances should result in significant economic impacts at the micro level in the areas of emigration Taylor, The economic consequences of remittances, however, should also be visible at the macro level, considering that the flow of immigrants' funds to the emerging countries has grown considerably in the last forty years Figure 2.

Despite the recent reduction in the inflow of remittances due to the global financial crisis, these numbers are impressive. In the discussion about the economic implications of remittances, two contradictory approaches should be highlighted: The first stresses that remittances can contribute to the formation of human capital through investments in education or health.

This type of transfer can be called productive remittances Canales, So, instead of influencing the economy on a temporary basis, remittances are an important factor for development in the long term, increasing per capita incomes and reducing poverty. These positive effects should be visible at both the microeconomic and macroeconomic level Ghosh, There is also, however, a pessimistic approach indicating that it is doubtful whether remittances could cause positive effects in situations where "both state policies and market initiatives had failed systematically" Canales, , p. Only a small portion of funds transferred from abroad is used productively, for "remittances are being earmarked mainly for current day-to-day expenses [ This happens due to the high degree of poverty experienced by the emigrants' families.

Therefore, at the micro level remittances help to maintain a minimum standard of living, but are not strong enough to promote social mobility Oliveira Vidal, The steady flow of resources from abroad to the family unit can discourage those who stayed behind. Therefore, the families of emigrants can work less than they would have to in the absence of the money transferred by the Diaspora.

At the macro level, the inflow of remittances can contribute to the "rise of foreign currency reserves, which can generate appreciation of the domestic currency, which in turn affects the profitability of exports of manufactured goods" Oliveira Vidal, , p. Empirical studies on the economic effects of remittances show contradictory results.

At the macro level, research indicates that there is no evidence that remittances received by a country positively affect the rate of economic growth. This was the case of the study conducted by Nicola Spatafora , who analyzed developing countries in the period This study demonstrated that there is no statistically significant relationship between the amount of remittances and spending on education or health, or between remittances and investments.

The author concluded that the impact of remittances on development is of a complex and indirect nature, and therefore very difficult to be shown in macroeconomic studies Spatafora, The authors analyzed the relationship between remittances and economic growth, including the effectiveness of the financial sector in the countries of origin of immigrants.

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The survey conducted in seventy emerging countries in the period , shows that remittances can positively affect the rate of economic growth when taking into account the variables that describe the development level of the domestic financial system and the effectiveness of the credit market. In countries where access to credit is difficult or costly, the resources transferred by immigrants become an alternative source of investment financing.

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