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Socio-economic Development and International Migration: A Turkish Study

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The root causes of international migration have been the subject of many studies, a vast majority of which are based on development theories dominated by economy-oriented perspectives. An underlying assumption is that poverty breeds migration. The results, and the conclusions drawn from these studies, differ widely. For instance, whether emigration increases when poverty becomes more extreme, or less extreme, or why it reaches certain levels, are issues on which research still offers a mixed answer.

This article investigates the relationship between economic development and migration by taking into consideration the degrees of economic development that form thresholds for migration. It focuses on recent evidence on the development-emigration relationship in Turkey which reflects a dimension of the dynamics and mechanisms facilitating or restricting migratory flows from the country.

Using data from the 1995 District-level Socio-economic Development Index of Turkey (DSDI) and the 1990 Census, the principal aim of the article is to provide an analytical base which identifies degrees of local level of development in Turkey, relate these to international migration flows, and examine patterns of the development-migration relationship.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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