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GTAP Research: Labor Migration

The economics literature increasingly recognizes the importance of migration and its ties with many other aspects of development and policy. In 2003, Walmsley and Winters demonstrated utilizing a Global Migration model (GMig) that lifting restrictions on the movement of natural persons would significantly increase global welfare with the majority of benefits accruing to developing countries. Although an important result, the lack of bilateral labor migration data forced Walmsley and Winters to make approximations in important areas and naturally precluded their tracking bilateral migration agreements. Since then the model has been extended to incorporate bilateral migration flows and dynamics.

In 2005, the Center for Global Trade Analysis, in collaboration with the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, Sussex University, United Kingdom, the Department for International Development, United Kingdom and the World Bank, Washington D.C., USA, have developed a data base for use in analysis of Labor migration issues. The result of this collaboration has been a bilateral matrix of the home and host regions of the World's 176.6 million international migrants and the development of the GMig2 model and Data Base. The data was used by the World Bank in their production of the 2006 Global Economic Prospects and has appeared in the Guardian and on Vox.

More recently (2010) in collaboration with the World Bank, one thousand census and population register records were combined to construct decennial matrices corresponding to the last five completed census rounds (available at See also for more background information. This data base will be used to update the GMig2 Data Base based on the GTAP 8 Data Base.

In 2010, Aguiar and Walmsley also extended the GMig2 model in two significant ways. First by separating domestic and migrant workers, they have now allowed for the fact that domestic and migrants are not perfect substitutes; and second by combining the features of the dynamic GTAP (GDyn) model with GMig2 to obtain a dynamic migration model. As part of research into North American migration flows, undocumented workers were also distinguished.

Data Bases


Previous Research (GMig)

For those interested in more details regarding the model (GMig) used in these applications please refer to the following document:

Walmsley, Terrie, "Modelling the Movement of Natural Persons", Center for Global Trade Analysis Documentation, 2002.