Development, International Migration, Migration Transition Theory, Economic Development Policy


Migration transition theories have been contested as they informed immigration policy in the Global North, which—based on assumptions that immigrants from developing countries may be a threat to social stability and economic opportunity—aimed to diminish emigration from the South. Development policies were proposed that could produce a “migration transition” in the South, where it was assumed that improved economic development would act as a substitute for migration and lead to minimal emigration, thus reducing overall immigration to the Global North. However, policies did not result in a migration transition. Acknowledging problematic rhetoric and contradictory policy and outcomes, this paper addresses key deficiencies of migration transition models. By reconsidering how migration transition frameworks could be modified to inform immigration policy, we may pursue theoretical and methodological paths for future empirical inquiries on development and international migration.

Publication Date

May 2020



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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.