This MIDEQ roundtable is co-convened with the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research. Learn more.

In recent years, social protection programmes have multiplied globally, with most countries in the world now having at least one social protection programme. As global expansion in social protection continues, so does policy interest on the different, sometimes inadvertent, effects of this expansion. One of these potential effects is its interaction with migration decision-making. For instance, is there a link between access to social protection and the ability or need to migrate? With this interest comes the risk of policy assumptions on instruments like social protection being used to potentially 'stop’ or reduce migration.

In this roundtable, we explore this relationship between social protection and migration, and consider the implications for policy. Jessica Hagen-Zanker and Jason Gagnon will present the state of evidence, drawing on an in-depth MIDEQ review of the literature. Carmen Leon Himmelstine will be in conversation with Rogelio Grados, the Director of M&E of the Mexican Oportunidades programme, discussing the effects of the programme on migration and implications for policy design. Clara van Panhuys will reflect on the social protection and migration link, from the perspective of the International Labour Organisation and international human rights standards, before we open the floor to Q&A and a broader conversation with participants.



Heaven Crawley, MIDEQ Director and Head of Equitable Development and Migration, United Nations University Centre for Policy Research


Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Senior Research Fellow ODI

Jason Gagnon, Lead on migration and development, OECD

Carmen Leon Himmelstine, Research Fellow ODI

Rogelio Grados, Director of monitoring and evaluation of Oportunidades/ Prospera/ Becas Benito Juarez

Clara van Panhuys, Technical Officer Social Protection Department ILO HQ

Speaker profiles

Professor Heaven Crawley leads the UKRI GCRF South-South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub (MIDEQ). Educated at the Universities of Sussex (1989-1994) and Oxford (1995-1999), Heaven has more than 25 years' experience of undertaking research on international migration in a wide range of institutional settings (government, voluntary sector, national and international organisations, academia). She is currently the Head of Equitable Development and Migration at UN University Centre for Policy Research.

Dr Jessica Hagen-Zanker is a Senior Research Fellow leading ODI’s migration research. Her research focuses on migration and development, migration decision-making, the links between migration and social protection, the humanitarian-development nexus as well as the analysis of social protection programmes and policies. In MIDEQ she leads the Work Package on migration decision-making, information and perceptions. Jessica has designed and delivered numerous household surveys and has extensive mixed methods data collection experience in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, as well as expertise in systematic literature reviews. Jessica has advised numerous governments and international organisations and has led policy analysis and contributed to policy dialogue in high-, middle- and low-income countries, including the UK, India, Jordan and Nepal. She holds a PhD in Public Policy from Maastricht University.

Jason Gagnon is a senior development economist with the OECD Development Centre and heads its unit on migration and skills, producing empirically-based policy reports, coordinating its Policy Dialogue on Migration and Development and co-chairing a KNOMAD thematic working group (on special issues). He has worked at the OECD since 2007 in a variety of subjects related to both migration and development, and is an expert on the links between these two policy fields. In addition to international migration, he has led, drafted and published reports on informality, internal migration, urbanisation, social cohesion, well-being, and development strategies. He has been a core author of the OECD’s Perspectives on Global Development flagship report since its inception in 2009, and led the team from 2017 to 2019. Sitting on several advisory boards related to migration, he brings the OECD Development Centre’s unique expertise and policy circles into international and regional governance fora, such as the GFMD. He holds a PhD in economics from the Paris School of Economics (PSE).

Dr Carmen Leon-Himmelstine is a Research Fellow at ODI based at the Gender Equality and Social inclusion programme. Her research focus includes: social protection, migration, rural livelihoods, health and childhood poverty, from a gender norms and intersectionality lens. She has extended research and fieldwork experience on this topics in East and West Africa, South America and the Caribbean, and East Asia. She has extensive research skills collecting secondary and primary data using a variety of research methods including: in-depth and life history interviews, focus group discussions, and a range of participatory rural appraisal techniques.

Carmen has considerable experience of working with a wide range of donors, managing and delivering multi-year research programmes, with a strong publication record ranging from academic articles, reports and literature reviews, to policy briefs and conference papers. She holds a PhD in International Development with a focus on social protection and migration from the University of Sussex.

Clara van Panhuys is currently working for the Social Protection Department of the ILO in Geneva focusing on working with governments, workers and employer organizations to support the extension of social protection to migrant workers, refugees and their families. Prior to that, she has worked in the humanitarian field in various (post) conflict countries for UNHCR, UNESCO, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and various NGOs in Pakistan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Thai-Myanmar border on fostering respect for human rights and providing assistance and protection to conflict affected populations. She has two Master degrees, one in Law and one in Humanitarian Assistance.

Rogelio Omar Grados is currently the General Director of Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation at the National Coordination of Scholarships, in the Ministry of Education in Mexico, which is the administrative unit responsible of the design and implementation of the federal scholarships’ programmes. From 2010 to 2017, he worked as the Director of the External Evaluation Unit at the National Coordination of the PROGRESA/Oportunidades/PROSPERA (POP) programme, which was one of the earliest conditional cash transfers programmes in the world. During his time in this post, he coordinated the design and implementation of the medium and long term effects external evaluation of POP programme and conducted other quantitative and qualitative studies and analysis regarding the POP programme’s results on its beneficiaries.