Migration, Development and Psychology: Looking for a Link
Sotelo, Maria Jose, Gimeno, Luis, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal
The authors explore an alternative way of analyzing the relationship between development, migration and psychology. The method is based on the first principal component of national net immigrants' data in the Human Development Index rating domain. Results show that the main sources of emigrants are countries with moderate development and the main sink countries are ranked from Human Development Index Rating 10 to 30. This could be in part due to a psychological reason: "If one is poor among poor, incentives to migrate might be lower than if one is poor among (relatively) rich".
PSYCHOLOGICAL DETERMINANTS OF MIGRATION
The complex relationship of migration and development has suggested many theoretical models concerning the main determinants of migration. (Gahatak, Levine, & Price, 1996, for a review, Massey, Arango, Hugo, Kouaouci, & Taylor, 1993). In brief, migration takes place when the attainable future income in the host country is higher than the income in the home country plus migration costs. But if this is so, how can we justify the small number of immigrants from the developing countries to the industrialized world, despite the enormous differences in living conditions? There must be migration-impeding factors and migration-favoring factors related more to the individual than to the economy. In a recent review Rotte and Vogler (2000) suggested two: the uncertainty of unemployment or the danger of being mistaken that leads to an involuntary return to the home country and the relative income situation which is based on results of group research in social psychology and sociology - the in-group comparison. There is an incentive to migrate when there are income differentials relative to a reference group but not when there are absolute differences. So to be poor among relatively rich provides a greater incentive to migrate than to be poor among poor.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX RATING
Since 1990, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has published a series of annual Human Development Reports in which an index called the Human Development Index (HDI) is computed for each country. The HDI measures human development through the use of three factors: longevity (mean life expectancy in the nation), knowledge (rate of literacy and school population) and purchasing power (Gross National Product per person). Although there has been much discussion of the representativeness of HDI as a measure of life quality in the literature, (Noorbakhsh, 1998; Sagar & Najam, 1998), HDI has become the most widely used yardstick of human development and a reference as a socioeconomic indicator.
According to the two psychological reasons in the first section those countries with low development should not be an important source of international immigrants. The main source should be middle-developed countries where it is possible to find most of the advantages of developed countries, but only for a restricted part of the population (relative income situation) and the main sink should be those developed countries with a need of workers, typically those ranking from 10 to 30 in the HDI ranking (uncertainty).
In this study we propose an alternative method of exploring the relationship between economic development and migration in a country. There are two differences. Firstly, instead of the HDI, we use the HDI rating (the relative order of a country with respect to HDI) and secondly, instead of immigrant number the first principal component in the HDI rating domain is used.
DATA AND OVERVIEW
International migration data used in this study were extracted from the 2000 US Census Bureau International Database (http://www.countrywatch.com/cv/ query.asp). It is quantified as net migration entering (leaving) the country and its unit is net-migration/1000 population in midyear. Human Development Index rating and HDI values were obtained from the 2000 Human Development Report from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). …