Regional Development

Migration and regional development: A research review


Presentation by Professor Mike Coombes
Centre for Urban & Regional Development Studies
Newcastle University, United Kingdom


The presentation draws on CURDS research over several years. Acknowledgement is due to many research funders, plus numerous colleagues (Prof Tony Champion in particular). The presentation has four sections. The first gives the background on theoretical and policy understandings of the role of migration. This session addresses two questions: Why focus on migration in relation to regional development? Where does migration fit in theories of regional development? The second session looks at international migration; using data on non-nationals in the labour force of medium-size city regions in Europe, evidence suggests that in many countries the capital city or some other gateway has many international migrant inflows. The third session relates to the city regions of England to analyze migration between regions in the same country. International migrants are unlikely to make up a major part of the high skill labour force a region needs to build a knowledge economy. Evidence from England shows also that London benefits from a continuing ‘brain drain’ from other regions the factors that attract/deter migrants are mostly ‘pro-rural’ (although young people do tend to move to cities). The last session reviews policy issues: Key influences on migration flows are ‘immune’ to the actions open to most regional policy-makers. In many regions, migrants may not contribute a large part of a future high-skill labour force.


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