Chapter 2 Skilled migration in the literature: what we know, what we think we know, and why it matters to know the difference
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In 2015, 3.3 percent of the world’s population lived outside their country of origin. Yet, many misconceptions about migration persist in both the literature and the policy dialogue: that migrants are less skilled than those who stayed in the source country; that skilled migrants remit less than lower-skilled migrants; that emigration depletes the human capital stock of sending countries; that immigration lowers wages and employment in the native population; and that migrants receive a disproportionate amount of social benefits in host countries. This chapter endeavors to interpret the facts and trends in skilled migration through the lens of the existing academic literature, and in doing so it debunks the many myths that persist. It shows that gains and losses accrue to both sending and receiving countries, and that the net effect can be positive for both sides. This exercise is particularly important given the scarcity of high-quality data on international labor flows. The chapter also discusses opportunities and challenges for true skill mobility, and policy recommendations on how to facilitate skill flows in the ASEAN Economic Community.