Migration, entrepreneurship and development: A critical review

Wim Naudé, Melissa Siegel & Katrin Marchand


We provide an assessment of the state of scholarly and policy debates on migrant entrepreneurs in development. They are often described as super-entrepreneurs who contribute to development through (i) being more entrepreneurial than natives; (ii) providing remittances that fund start-ups in their countries of origin and (iii) returning entrepreneurial skills to their home countries when they re-migrate. We evaluate these three views and conclude that the empirical evidence to support the notion of the migrant as a super-entrepreneur is weak. We further argue that the evidence is less ambiguous on the general development contribution of migration over and above its contribution through entrepreneurship. The implication is that removal of discriminatory barriers against migrants and against migrant entrepreneurs in labour, consumer and financial markets will promote development in both sending and receiving countries, not least through reducing the shares of migrants that are reluctant entrepreneurs.

JEL Classification: J60, L26,O15,F22

Keywords: Migration, Entrepreneurship, Development, Remittances

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