A Good Industry and an Industry for Good: Why We Need a Quality Mobility Industry to Scale Labor Mobility
In this report, we argue that the emergence of a quality mobility industry could improve outcomes in temporary labor mobility by reducing migration costs per worker through greater economies of scale (allowing a broader range of employers to benefit from labor mobility), increasing the accessibility of labor mobility for employers, decreasing the burden on migrant workers, and building trust and capability among actors within labor mobility systems. By improving outcomes and faith in temporary mobility programs, we posit that a quality mobility industry could lessen political resistance and allow for temporary mobility programs to be built at scale as a solution to the rapidly approaching demographic cliff in high-income countries. We then conclude by proposing the next steps toward facilitating the emergence of a mobility industry that is “a good industry and an industry for good.”
By 2050, the prime working-age populations of OECD countries will have shrunk by more than 92 million people, while their populations over 65 years old will have grown by more than 100 million people. This means to maintain their current (and already historically low) ratio of prime working-age to 65+ people in the year 2050, OECD countries are currently facing a gap of more than 15 million workers per year, or a total of 400 million workers over 30 years. Meanwhile, estimates project that there will be close to 1.4 billion new working-age people in developing countries by 2050, of whom around 40 percent are unlikely to find meaningful employment in their home countries. Labor mobility offers a solution, connecting these potential migrants (who need jobs) to potential employers (who need workers). However, existing labor mobility systems are not developed to be able to handle labor flows of the size that are needed, and are constrained by negative public opinions of mobility. This report sets out the vision for Labor Mobility Partnerships (LaMP), which aims to be the first organization that actively works to increase rights-respecting labor mobility, ensuring that workers can access employment opportunities abroad.
Lant Pritchett | March 2018 | Center for Global Development (CGD)
Decades of programmatic experimentation by development NGOs combined with the latest empirical techniques for estimating program impact have shown that a well-designed, well-implemented, multi-faceted intervention can in fact have an apparently sustained impact on the incomes of the poor (Banerjee et al 2015). The magnitude of the income gains of the “best you can do” via direct interventions to raise the income of the poor in situ is about 40 times smaller than the income gain from allowing people from those same poor countries to work in a high productivity country like the USA. Simply allowing more labor mobility holds vastly more promise for reducing poverty than anything else on the development agenda. That said, the magnitude of the gains from large growth accelerations (and losses from large decelerations) are also many-fold larger than the potential gains from directed individual interventions and the poverty reduction gains from large, extended periods of rapid growth are larger than from targeted interventions and also hold promise (and have delivered) for reducing global poverty.