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Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa

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Abstract

Two of the main forces driving European emigration in the late nineteenth century were real wage gaps between sending and receiving regions and demographic booms in the low-wage sending regions. Our new estimates of net migration for the countries of sub-Saharan Africa show that exactly the same forces driving African across-border migration are at work today. The results suggest that rapid growth in the cohort of potential young emigrants, population pressure on the resource base, and slow economic growth are likely to intensify the pressure for migration out of Africa and into high-wage OECD countries over the next two decades.

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