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This paper aims to put the debate on migration and development in a broader historical perspective of migration theory in particular and social theory in general. The lack of theoretical rootedness and largely descriptive nature of much empirical work has haunted the improvement of theories. As a result of the general lack of a common theoretical thread, most empirical work – especially from outside migration economics – remains isolated, scattered, and theoretically underexplored. Real progress in the understanding of the factors determining the fundamental heterogeneity of migration and development interactions is only possible if more empirical work is designed to test theoretically derived hypotheses and, hence, to improve the generalized understanding of migration-development interactions.



Working paper


International Migration Institute

Publication Date




Total pages



Migration theory, development theory, social theory, remittances, neo-Marxism, developmentalism, transnationalism