Migration and inequality

An interdisciplinary overview

Authored by: Ingrid Palmary

Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138244450
eBook ISBN: 9781315276908
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter gives an overview of the core literature on migration and inequality. Much existing work focusses on inequality as a driver of migration and questions whether migration increases or decreases inequality for both migrants and those who remain behind. This body of research draws contradictory findings, which suggest that it is the conditions under which migration takes place that determines its impact. This chapter gives a brief review of the growing body of literature that outlines some of the conditions that might influence the success of migration. It then gives illustrations of these contextual factors from two research projects. The first is based on research with children who cross borders and the policy interventions that aim to protect them and the second is a collaborative study from Singapore, Bangladesh, and South Africa into the gendered nature of migration policymaking. The chapter concludes by arguing for more research that connects micro, macro, and meso-level studies as well as developing a better understanding of how interventions might have differential impacts for different migrants.

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