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Understanding the Relationship between Migration and Development

Toward a New Theoretical Approach

Raúl Delgado Wise and Humberto Márquez Covarrubias

Keywords: development; migration; neo-liberalism; political economy; remittances; strategic practices; structural dynamics

The relationship between migration and development is a topic of growing interest among international organizations. To varying degrees, those organizations see remittances as an essential tool in the development of migrant-sending, underdeveloped countries. We argue that this view, on which most pertinent public policies are based, misrepresents the notion of development and obscures the root causes of current labor migration. This limited and distorted perspective should be discarded, and the phenomenon should be analyzed in a comprehensive manner that includes strategic/structural, multi-dimensional, and multi-spatial approaches based on the political economy of development. This type of analysis should take into account the following interrelated dimensions: social agents, global context, regional integration, national environment, and local levels.

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