Many development researchers think that foreign aid most likely leads to more emigration because, with higher incomes, more individuals can afford to migrate.
Our research points in the opposite direction: development aid often provides an incentive to stay at home because aid often leads to better public services.
Hence, scaling up development aid to migrants’ countries of origin could reduce immigration to Europe.
However, this effect is small. According to our quantitative analysis, aid would have to be doubled to reduce emigration rates by as little as 15 percent. Thus, a noticeable impact on migration would require an unrealistically large increase in aid.