Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - Al Akhawayn Hosts the 6th International Migration and Development Conference

Al Akhawayn Hosts the 6th International Migration and Development Conference

Besides two keynote speeches that introduced respectively a theory with application to Moroccan Migration and a new model of key player that applies to networks, the conference enjoyed having inputs from 30 other presentations. Around 120 people from 16 universities and research centers from Belgium, France, Great Britain, Mexico, Morocco, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and USA have contributed as speakers, discussants and participants. The topics covered include Labor Markets, Migration and Institutions, Migration and Social Media, Determinants of International Migration, Political Economy of Migration, Return Migration and the Selection of Migrants, Migration and Family besides others. The session on Migration and Development in the MENA region included presentations on Tunisian Migration and Labor Markets, Internationalization of Education and Mobility of Students in the Arab World and Impacts of Migration on two Regions of Algeria with the introduction of a new dataset.
All the presentations have had innovative features with regard to the theory, the methods, and the data and on the final results. The overall contributions of the two day conference could be summarized as follows:
1. Theory and overall approach: Participants to the conference have had the opportunity of learning about the most current and available theories linking migration and development. Large series of applications have been also introduced in relation to the theories but also in relation to the empirical work presented on series of occasions. As theories are important frameworks for the overall understanding of the migration process, the presentations have also shown the likely causalities between migration and development in series of contexts. The relationships between economics and other social science components have been implicit in a large number of presentations.
2. Methodological frameworks for analysis: Participants enjoyed also the diversity of methodological frameworks introduced in each of the presentations. This covered the use of accurate descriptive models, multivariate and regressions analysis, partial and general equilibrium models, household models, labor markets and others. New methods such as those introduced in relation to experimental economics and to the “key player” in social networks have been also provided. Also probabilistic decisions models have been largely mobilized to understand the decisions of mobility. Looking at talents related to football is a presentation that addresses the implications of institutional changes in sports on the final outcomes besides the mobility of players. This has invited the participants to think about new ways thinking about competitions for talents in different fields.
3. Techniques for data collection and formation of databases: While new methods including experimental ones have been introduced, further attempts to develop new databases from the existing ones have been shared with comparisons related to the enhancement and refinement of raw factual knowledge. These sessions have shown how communities, countries and regions could gain more from ensuring support for further and well refined databases and information.
4. Empirical investigations: The major gains from these presentations relate to the practical applications and their outcomes in relation to real players and decision makers in a diversity of contexts. Series of countries are covered but local features and specificities appear to be important and could prevent from any misuse of replications to other places and socioeconomic contexts. The inclusions of local features to better capture determinants and causalities have been shown as crucial in the final research outcomes. This implies that further investigations need to be pursued when looking at other places and locations.
This diversity of dimensions tackled and learnt from the presentations do have real links to what is happening in both current sending and receiving countries but shed light on the prospects taking place in different locations and internationally. Among the major implicit lessons that could be learnt from the experience of this international conference, there are those that concern production, diffusion and implementation of research outcomes besides ensuring sustainability in social research:

1. How social scientists and researchers in developing economies and in the MENA region are encouraged to address more questions related to the links between migration and development. They could pursue and accelerate their investigations to account for the research trends taking place internationally in the domain of migration with its links to growth and development.

2. How policy makers could support and promote further investigations on the multidimensional aspects of migration and development, as this is becoming an important issue with globalization as well as with ensuring the needs of local populations in different contexts.

3. Diffusion of research outcomes is central for the enhancement and promotion of decision making at the levels of individuals, families, groups, Governments and international organizations. Different means need to be mobilized to ensure that outcomes from research are shared with different players.

4. Further openness of researchers and research groups with participation to research networks are likely to enhance research outcomes with their diffusion,

5. Further exposure of students and youngest researchers to new methods and issues related to migration and development is likely to help ensure sustainability of research in social sciences as migration and development have increasing impacts on developing and developed economies.

Report contributed by:

Ahmed Driouchi, participant at the conference, Professor of Economics, Advisor, and Dean of the Institute of Economic Analysis and Prospective Studies (IEAPS) at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.