The Dominican Republic has a long tradition of migration and has experienced significant emigration as well as immigration flows in the past decades. Close to 12% of its population has emigrated, while immigrants constitute 4% of the population and an important part of the work force. The country would benefit from strengthening its whole-of-government approach to making migration an integral part of its overall development strategies, argues a new report by the OECD Development Centre and the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Sociales (CIES) titled “Interrelations between Public Policy, Migration and Development in the Dominican Republic".
The Minister of Economy, Planning and Development, Isidoro Santana Lopez, together with the OECD Development Centre and CIES hosted the report’s launch in Santo Domingo today, in the presence of the Delegation of the European Union to the Dominican Republic as well as several Ministers, representatives of civil society and national and international organisations.
The IPPMD project in the Dominican Republic is the result of four years of fieldwork, empirical analysis and policy dialogue in the country. Overall, more than 2 000 households, representing over 7 000 individuals, and 54 communities were interviewed during this ambitious study, co-funded by the European Union. The findings build on innovative quantitative and qualitative surveys that, for the first time, combine questions related to migration and to public policies. The report is part of a larger comparative project involving nine other countries: Armenia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Haiti, Morocco and the Philippines.
The interrelations between sectoral policies and migration are not straightforward: they strongly depend on the country context and the conditions of implementation of policies. Through various dimensions – immigration, emigration, remittances and return migration – migration has both positive and negative effects on key sectors of the Dominican economy. Similarly, sectoral policies have indirect impacts on migration and its related development outcomes. A lack of policy coherence may bring unintended effects and undermine the effectiveness of public policies.
For example, it is often assumed that policies such as vocational training programmes will reduce people’s incentives to emigrate by making them more employable. However, the IPPMD analysis shows the opposite: individuals who participated in vocational training programmes are in fact more likely to plan to emigrate in the future (21%) than those who did not (13%) - potentially because the programmes equip would-be migrants with skills that are more useful in the international labour market than in the local labour market.
The findings also show that migration has both positive and negative effects on education outcomes. Return migration encourages investments in education, and particularly in private education: 43% of children living in return migrant households attend private school, compared with 17% in other households. At the same time, immigrant youth in the Dominican Republic are failing to access education to the same extent as their native-born peers. Young people in immigrant households are less likely to attend school, and immigrant households are less likely to benefit from government education programmes than households without immigrants. Government intervention is therefore key to reducing migration-induced inequalities in the education sector. Investments in education infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for education, and ensuring that immigrants have access to education policy programmes is key for immigrant integration and achieving the objective of universal education set out in the national development plan.
Overall, the Dominican Republic IPPMD report concludes that the development potential of migration for economic and social development in the Dominican Republic is not yet fully realised. Making the most of migration requires creating an environment where Dominicans migrate by choice, and where emigrants as well as immigrants can positively contribute to the development in the Dominican Republic as well as in countries of destination. In this respect, a more coherent policy agenda requires that policy makers avoid operating in silos and do more to integrate migration into the Dominican Republic’s national development strategies. This involves not only adopting specific initiatives focused on migration and development, but also including migration in the design, implementation and evaluation of all relevant sectoral policies.
For more information on the IPPMD project, please visit: http://www.oecd.org/dev/migration-development/ippmd.htm.
Requests for interviews or a copy of the report should be directed to Lisa Andersson (firstname.lastname@example.org); +33 (0)1 45 24 74 93) at the OECD Development Centre.