Economics of Migration and Remittances: A Review Article

Puja Guha

Economics of Migration and Remittances: A Review Article

Author: Puja Guha


The economic discourse on migration and development has swung from the neo-classical developmentalist optimism of the 1950s to a somewhat pessimistic hypothesis of lost  labour and brain drain of the 1970s, to a more nuanced view of the new economics of labour migration (NELM), which looks at the gains arising out of resource transfer from migrants in the host countries to their respective countries of origin. Not only has there been a paradigm shift in the discussions, there has also been a change in the approach to understanding the migration-development nexus. From the Lewisian dual economy model of rural-urban migration for factor price equalization, there has been a shift to, and a recent boom in, empirical work on remittances, which are viewed both as a return from the migration process and as an important source of development finance. The aim of this paper is to analyse the different generations of migration theory and remittances from the development economics perspective, examining in particular the dichotomy between economic and social theory in explaining the nexus between migration and development.

Keywords: Migration Theory, NELM, Development Theory, Remittances