Speaker: Ljubica Nedelkoska is a Growth Lab research fellow at the Center for International Development at Harvard University
About the talk: When CID started its engagement in Albania, a small developing economy bordering Greece, our team was particularly worried about the negative spillovers that the unfolding debt crisis in Greece could bring about. In addition to the adverse effects on trade and investments, the livelihoods of some 600,000 Albanians living in Greece (over 20% of Albania's population) and their remittance-receiving families were put at risk. Albanian migrants in Greece were particularly affected by the Greek crisis, which spurred a wave of return migration that increased Albania’s labor force by 5% between 2011 and 2014 alone. We studied how this return migration affected the employment chances and earnings of Albanians who never migrated. Initially to our surprise, we found positive effects on the wages of low-skilled non-migrants and overall positive effects on employment. The gains partially offset the sharp drop in remittances in the observed period and are probably triggered by return of know-how and financial capital. The employment gains are concentrated in the agricultural sector, where most return migrants engage in self-employment and entrepreneurship. Businesses run by return migrants seem to pull Albanians from non-participation, self-employment and subsistence agriculture into commercial agriculture.
About the speaker: Ljubica's research focuses on human capital, migration, lifelong learning, capital-labor relations and structural transformation. She works at the intersection of research and policy, and has contributed to several such projects in Albania, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany. She holds a PhD in Economics of Innovation from the Friedrich Schiller University, Germany and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Appalachian State University, North Carolina. Before joining CID, Ljubica worked as a post-doctoral researcher and a coordinator of the Research Group “Economics of Innovation” at the Friedrich Schiller University and as a research fellow at the Zeppelin University in Germany.