The Political Economy Model Of Migration Policy

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Gary Freeman suggests the gap between rhetoric and reality is best described in a political economic account of migration policy. The political economy model of migration is modelled on the interests of three sets of rational actors: voters, organised groups and state actors who attempts to maximize their individual goals subject to state interests in different contexts (Freeman, 2002). The first is post-industrial change, which suggests stances on immigration policy are better viewed as interests defined by social groups (Freeman, 2002: 84). The second is the spatial account, where the population compete for finite resources in densely settled areas – exacerbated by strong advocates of immigration in these locations, such as businesses which could help explain the gap between rhetoric and action. The third is the international approach, where state protectionism regulates the trade of goods and people. If immigration is economically beneficial to the state, it will continue regardless of public sentiments. As social ‘welfare effects are key determinants of a countries migration policy’, if migration stimulates the economy, it will have a positive impact on society (Freeman, 2002: 88).

Liberal and International Norms

Liberal norms influence policy outcomes. Hollifield is concerned with the political interests that drive migration policy in the face of liberalism.‘[S]overeignty requires a degree of territorial closure’, which the liberal state increasingly calls into
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