Lecture on “Impact of Demographic Dynamics on Migration”

The Centre for Development Economics and the Department of Sociology

Delhi School of Economics

 Invite you to a seminar by

 François Héran

National Institute for Demographic Research  (INED) and National Institute of Statistics (INSEE), France


“Impact of Demographic Dynamics on Migration”

at 3:05 pm on Monday, October 14, 2019

Venue: Amex Room, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


It is a widespread view, including among researchers to believe that the primary motor of international migration is a system of communicating vessels: the least developed countries would migrate mechanically to the most developed, the overpopulated countries to the least dense, the most fertile to the less fertile, and so on. The notion of “climate migrations” seems to add a new example to this series.

Several metaphors are widely used to express this traditional “gravity model” of international migration. Some have a scholarly flavour, such as the “natural” circulation of migrants from areas of “high demographic pressures” to “low pressure” areas. Others are more popular and feed public debate (like the “magnet effect”), mingling with classical rhetorical figures: the “slippery slope” argument, the “perverse effect” arguments, etc.


In order to refute this mechanical vision of migration flows, we shall analyse the “Bilateral Migration Database” (IMF, IOM, OECD) which now offers a global view of migration systems and facilitates the integration of a wide spectrum of factors. The analysis will be supported by examples from Eastern Europe, the Indian Subcontinent, and sub-Saharan Africa. It will also be suggested that quantitative analyses of migration systems should be accompanied by a critical analysis of the rhetorical systems of argumentation.