Academic journal article Migration Letters

Migration and Development: Comparing Mexico-US and Turkey-Europe±

Academic journal article Migration Letters

Migration and Development: Comparing Mexico-US and Turkey-Europe±

Article excerpt

Abstract

About 12 million people born in Mexico are in the US while about four million Turks are in the European Union. Migration has been part of the strong relationship between these sending and receiving countries. Both Mexico's and Turkey's economies expanded significantly over the last two decades. However, there has also been displacement and outmigration from both countries. Over 500,000 Mexicans moved to the US each year between 2004 and 2007, and most were unauthorized. Researchers from Mexico and the US and Turkey and Western European countries examine the demography, economy, and politics of Mexico-US and Turkey-western Europe migration in this special issue.

Keywords: migration, development, Mexico, Germany, Turkey, US.

Introduction

About 10 per cent of persons born in Mexico, 12 million, are living in the US, and five per cent of persons born in Turkey (or born outside Turkey to Turkish parents), four million, are in the EU-1 5 countries. Migration was the major relationship between Mexico and the US and Turkey and Western Europe for most of the past half century. Recent trade and development policies have aimed to substitute trade for migration, with uneven results.

Researchers from Mexico and the US and Turkey and Western European countries examine the demography, economy, and politics of Mexico-US and Turkey-western Europe migration in this special issue. Policies toward economic integration and migration outcomes are very different in the US and EU. Canada, Mexico, and the US embraced closer economic integration under NAFTA in 1994, unauthorized Mexico-US migration increased, and the US responded with more Border Patrol agents and a fence along a third of the Mexico-US border. Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987, was rebuffed, and made democratic changes before accession negotiations with the EU began in 2005.

Overview: Key issues

In the past two decades, economic liberalization has aimed to substitute investment, trade, and job creation in Mexico and Turkey for migration to the US and Western Europe. Mexico's economy expanded by almost two per cent a year between 2000 and 2009, and Turkey's economy expanded almost four per cent a year in the same period. Over 500,000 Mexicans moved to the US each year between 2004 and 2007, and most were unauthorized. There is far less Turkish migration to Western Europe, but worries about the integration of Turks and their children living in Western Europe and more Turkish migration have complicated Turkey-EU accession negotiations that began in 2005.

Martin explored the migration potential of Mexico and Turkey. Unlike most OECD countries, the unemployment rate does not provide a reliable measure of labour market slack in Mexico and Turkey, where unemployment rates are relatively low. Labour force participation rates in Mexico and Turkey are also low, and there are relatively few formal wage and salary jobs, especially for women, young university graduates, and older men. Mexico and Turkey may include significant numbers of potential migrants because of they have relatively few formal-sector wage and salary jobs.

In most OECD countries, half of the population of working age is in the labour force. In Mexico 42 per cent of residents 15 and older are in the labour force and in Turkey a third of residents are employed or looking for work (Turkey's labour force has been stable at 25 million over the past five years because women leaving agriculture change in the data from being employed in rural areas to out of the labour force in urban areas).1 In most OECD countries, over 80 per cent of those in the labour force are wage and salary employees, versus 63 per cent of workers in the Mexican labour force and 54 per cent in Turkey.

If half of the residents of Mexico and Turkey were in the labour force, and if 82 per cent of these expanded labour forces were wage and salary employees as in other OECD countries, Mexico would have 16 million more wage and salary employees and Turkey 17 million more. …

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