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Universität Potsdam (2011)

Migration and development in Senegal : a system dynamics analysis of the feedback relationships

Züllich Gunda

Titre : Migration and development in Senegal : a system dynamics analysis of the feedback relationships

Auteur : Züllich Gunda

Université de soutenance : Universität Potsdam

Grade : Master’s Thesis 2011

This thesis investigates the reciprocal relationship between migration and development in Senegal. Therewith, it contributes to the debate as to whether migration in developing countries enhances or rather impedes the development process. Even though extensive and controversial discussions can be found in the scientific literature regarding the impact of migration on development, research has scarcely examined the feedback relationships between migration and development. Science however agrees with both the fact that migration affects development as well as that the level of development in a country determines migration behaviour. Thus, both variables are neither dependent nor independent, but endogenous variables influencing each other and producing behavioural pattern that cannot be investigated using a static and unidirectional approach. On account of this, the thesis studies the feedback mechanisms existing between migration and development and the behavioural pattern generated by the high interdependence in order to be able to draw conclusions concerning the impact of changes in migration behaviour on the development process. To explore these research questions, the study applies the computer simulation method ‘System Dynamics’ and amplifies the simulation model for national development planning called ‘Threshold 21’ (T21), representing development processes endogenously and integrating economic, social and environmental aspects, using a structure that portrays the reasons and consequences of migration. The model has been customised to Senegal, being an appropriate representative of the theoretical interesting universe of cases. The comparison of the model generated scenarios - in which the intensity of emigration, the loss and gain of education, the remittances or the level of dependence changes - facilitates the analysis. The present study produces two important results. The first outcome is the development of an integrative framework representing migration and development in an endogenous way and incorporating several aspects of different theories. This model can be used as a starting point for further discussions and improvements and it is a fairly relevant and useful result against the background that migration is not integrated into most of the development planning tools despite its significant impact. The second outcome is the gained insights concerning the feedback relations between migration and development and the impact of changes in migration on development. To give two examples : It could be found that migration impacts development positively, indicated by HDI, but that the dominant behaviour of migration and development is a counteracting behaviour. That means that an increase in emigration leads to an improvement in development, while this in turn causes a decline in emigration, counterbalancing the initial increase. Another insight concerns the discovery that migration causes a decline in education in the short term, but leads to an increase in the long term, after approximately 25 years - a typical worse-before-better behaviour. From these and further observations, important policy implications can be derived for the sending and receiving countries. Hence, by overcoming the unidirectional perspective, this study contributes to an improved understanding of the highly complex relationship between migration and development and their feedback relations

Mots clés  : Internationale Migration ; Modellierung ; Nachhaltige Entwicklung ; Senegal ; System Dynamics — International Migration ; Modelling ; Senegal ; Sustainable Development ; System Dynamics


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