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Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World Hardcover – Sep 25 2013
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"Paul Collier is one of the world's most thoughtful economists. His books consistently illuminate and provoke. Exodus is no exception." --The Economist
"Magisterial. Paul Collier offers a comprehensive, incisive, and well-written balance sheet of the pros and cons of immigration for receiving societies, sending societies, and migrants themselves. For everyone on every side of this contentious issue, Exodus is a must-read." --Robert Putnam, Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University, and author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community
"Paul Collier has done it again. Exodus is his latest effort to subject taboo topics to straightforward questions that most other scholars shrink from asking. This time Collier considers the effects of migration on the departing peoples' new homes, their old homes, and the emigrants themselves. Collier's framework for thinking about the topic is valuable; his explanation of past research is insightful; and his agenda for further studies displays his aptitude for considering big topics while pressing for detailed research. Moreover, he courageously interconnects different fields of scholarship-addressing problems that don't fit neatly into academic categories. This book is a true achievement." --Robert B. Zoellick, Former President of the World Bank Group, U.S. Trade Representative, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
"At a time when debate over immigration policy is polarizing public opinion, there could be no better guide to the issues involved than Paul Collier. He is lucid, undogmatic, convinced of the potential benefits of immigration but aware that these benefits can be put at risk if the process is managed indiscriminately or thoughtlessly. This important book will not end the debate but will help steer it." --Paul Seabright, Toulouse School of Economics and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse
"An economist and expert on the world's poorest populations analyzes who migrates, why and the effects on host societies...Valuable reading for policymakers." --Kirkus
"A lively exploration of perhaps the most contentious issue of our age... a valuable addition to the swelling library of books on this subject, written for a wide audience and containing some fascinating data." --The Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Paul Collier, CBE is a Professor of Economics, Director for the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Antony's College. He is the author of The Plundered Planet; Wars, Guns, and Votes; and The Bottom Billion, winner of Estoril Distinguished Book Prize, the Arthur Ross Book Award, and the Lionel Gelber Prize.
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The social effects of migration follow an inverse-U shape, with gains from moderate migration and losses from high migration. Moderate migration is liable to confer overall social benefits, whereas sustained rapid migration would risk substantial costs. Also, a low-density country such as Canada and Australia can accommodate a far greater rate of migration than high-density countries such as Western European ones.
Moderate migration has modestly positive economic effects on the indigenous population in the medium term. Any long-term effects are negligible. In contrast, sustained rapid migration lowers the living standard of the indigenous population, both through wage effect and due to the need to share scarce public capital.
Collier builds an elegant model that explains the rate of migration from one country to another. The rate of migration is determined by: 1) the width of the income gap (the wider it is the faster the migration rate from the low-income to high-income country); 2) the level of income in country of origin (the lower the income the higher the emigration rate); and 3) the size of the diaspora in the host country (the larger the diaspora the higher the immigration rate into the host country).
The diaspora is one key variable in migration. The larger it is, the more it drives migration into the host country. Also, the greater the distance in income, culture, language between the two countries (of origin vs host) the more likely a diaspora will form and grow rapidly. But, the more established and large is a diaspora the lower the rate of absorption of the migrants into the indigenous culture. The migrants will behave not as migrants seeking to integrate themselves into a new culture but instead as settlers with no desire to integrate themselves. Collier often makes this critical distinction between "migrants" and "settlers." The migrants will speak their own language, and often not speak the language of the host. They will often reject the culture and norms of the host and in some cases even attempt to reject the host laws (Muslims migrants in Europe seeking Sharia laws). Diasporas mechanics cause them to literally grow forever. That is unless specific policy measures to reduce migration and increase the absorption rate are taken.
Collier refers to the intriguing work of Robert Putnam, a leading social scientist, that indicates that the greater the proportion of immigrants in a community the lower the level of trust between immigrants and the indigenous population, but also the lower the level of trust within the indigenous population (a surprising result). High trust leads to high absorption rate. Low trust leads to low absorption rate and rising diasporas. The migrants turn into settlers.
The US has been far more successful at integrating migrants to its own culture than Europe. In Europe multiculturalism has risen whereby migrants are resistant to integration and insistent on maintaining their own culture thereby not adopting the local norms, not speaking the host country's language, not participating in the labor force, and even not accepting the country's laws. He quotes, Angela Merkel as stating that multiculturalism has been an utter failure. However, the cultural and linguistic gap between emigrants and host countries is far wider in Europe vs the US. This is typified by migrants' Islamic fundamentalism that affects Western Europe much more than the US. Multiculturalism combined with generous welfare systems (the European situation) lead to lower absorption rate based on the research from Ruud Koopmans.
The Question of migration is a political mine-field and there are few subjects that will engage citizens as much as when it is not handled well. The Rise of fringe political parties in Europe but also elsewhere is one of the signs of this. Paul Collier manages to guide us through this mine-field without stepping an any holy toes and gives us a structure for how to discuss this issue. I don't think that I have ever made so many notes from a book as I have done from this one.
For a social science book it is very well written and an easy read. Almost all aspects on migration are dealt with possibly one exception. I would have liked to see a discussion on regional differences. Having talked to a number of people working in the migration receiving end you will almost all the time hear what a difference there is to receive migrants from different countries or cultures. The Approach to deal with them differs a lot depending on who they are.
Reading the book you also realize how few outside of the science community that really has facts behind there views. Migration is a question that is 90 % political and just 10 % based on facts. This book could fix that. But you have to read it.
all parties concerned. The discussion around the impact of the size of diaspora, assimilative tendencies and income gap differentials are interesting and provide a reasonable framework to think about motives than rely on politician/media-created generalisms that tend to appeal to emotions than reason. Throughout the book, Collier manages to provide a mostly impartial and consistent view of migration and its effect before making a strong ethical case for why a society can (and should) control migration.
Collier's examples typically refer to the low-skill migration and his views on high-skill migration is nuanced and guided more by ethical arguments than utilitarian arguments (the very same ones he seemed to use to rationalize low-skill migration). Readers of a particular political persuasion can of course find cherrypick some observations to justify their view, but the relatively reduced focus on high-skill migration is an opportunity lost to add more clarity to the discussion. While much has been written on IT sector in the US, the medical skill migration to UK (and US) poses ethical and economic arguments far more pronounced than any other high-skill sector. Collier could have devoted more space to address high-skill migration.
Collier also focuses on country-to-country migrations;regional migrations such as those seen in larger countries is not covered in this discussion. Nor are examples of societies that see significant immigration and emigration at the same time (low-skill immigrants from neighboring countries to India - and Indians emigrating to UK/US) are covered extensively. It would've been interesting to see how Collier's framework will adapt to such examples - though extreme examples like Dubai is used extensively in discussions.
The pedantic style makes for relatively difficult reading - but it is a complicated topic and Collier did a great service not to oversimplify. Nevertheless, the book is very well-edited with virtually no repetition of core ideas or examples, or self-references. A very informative read.
The author, famous for his book "The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It" (2007), a professor of economics at Oxford University and he seeks here to first describe what drives migration--his answer is economics, surprise--and the desire to better oneself. He focuses on migration patterns from both the perspective of the individuals migrating and from the nations and cultures that they migrate to. His emphasis on the social, economic, and political costs for both the country of origin and the receiving country is certainly useful.
Four major parts--the questions and the process, host societies and their response to migration, the migrants themselves, and the fate of those left behind--lead naturally into a final section that deals with policy considerations and what might societies do in the future to deal with this issue. Collier's conclusions suggest that the issues are much more complex than those who support or those that oppose immigration.
Interesting, Collier does not talk at length about an historical and policy question that most interests me, the challenge of highly-skilled immigrants, especially those with scientific and technological capabilities. Because of this situation, in the U.S. and also elsewhere immigration policy has special categories for highly-skilled migrants. How might we seek to understand how high-skilled immigration began, its evolutionary process over time, and how it has affected modern American society? For the U.S., the 1952 McCarran-Walter and the 1965 Hart-Celler immigration acts have been critical to this historical trend. I would like to see how this history has affected policy debates, the language of the federal immigration laws, and demographic data for immigrants arriving before and after the implementation of these laws.
What he does emphasize, however, is related to the question of highly-skilled immigrants. Those who emigrate from the poorest countries tend to be better educated than those left behind. They also tend to be highly industrious and ambitious. Accordingly, their departure from their home nations leaves that nation that much worse off since they are no longer contributing to a successful future. Collier questions whether those people should be permitted to leave, but even there Collier is unwilling to set up legal proscriptions on an individual's liberty. He wants to strike a balance on how best to benefit both losing and gaining countries in the immigration issue. The real question here, obviously, is how do we know where that balance might be and how to achieve it? There is no good answer to this question offered here; nor as far as I can see does one exist anywhere.
Despite this, Collier offers an easy to understand primer on the issues of immigration in the modern world. Effectively, he presents case studies of rationales for immigration, worldwide policy considerations, and questions of national identity and ideals.
He then goes through several scenarios and how they would effect the migration "schedule" as he calls it. This is another problem with the work. He creates terms that end-up obscuring the explanation rather than clarifying it. Wanton creation of jargon I find particularly irritating as it is often the refuge of the intellectually bankrupt.
There are clearly many simplifications and details missing from this model at how it attempts to model the motivations behind a given populations desire to migrate to another country, but the power of a model is its ability to capture the key parameters that drive motivations. That is with all things being equal what will drive my choice of country to migrate to.
I think that the poorly constructed prose in places and the use of familiar terms in unfamiliar ways has created some confusion in some readers mind about what Collier is saying. - hence despite some interesting information I can only give it 3 stars, as I think it needs some editing to make it more accessible.
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