International Migration: Trends, Policies, and Economic Impact

International Migration: Trends, Policies, and Economic Impact

International Migration: Trends, Policies, and Economic Impact

International Migration: Trends, Policies, and Economic Impact

Synopsis

This book provides a contemporary perspective on a broad range of international migration problems. It considers recent immigration trends and policies, examining migrant behavior, illegal immigration and links between migration and trade.

Excerpt

Slobodan Djajić

Throughout much of our history, immigration has been relatively unrestricted in most parts of the world. The state typically represented the interests of landowners who were rather receptive to inflows of foreign labor. Both voluntary and forced immigration, as in the case of slave labor, served to increase land values and rents. Following the industrial revolution and the ensuing socioeconomic and political changes, capital owners became more influential in setting economic policy. Their attitude towards immigration, however, was not very different from that of the landlords. In consequence, immigration remained relatively unrestricted in most countries well into the first decades of the twentieth century. When restrictions were applied, exclusion of foreigners was based primarily on racial discrimination, public health considerations, and national security concerns rather than economic objectives.

The twentieth century was one of great change. Workers in the advanced market economies witnessed significant improvements in their economic, social, and political status. They became partners with other factor owners in sharing the fruits of economic progress. High labor standards, collective bargaining, and the welfare state have brought an end to the regime of sweatshops and subsistence wages. Unfortunately, the same level of progress has not been achieved in many of the developing countries. This has contributed to an expansion of the income differentials between workers of rich and poor nations. At the same time, technological advances in transportation and communications have sharply reduced the cost of international migration. Travel to a foreign country, or even intercontinental travel, has become increasingly more accessible to potential migrants. So has information concerning the standard of living and economic opportunities available abroad, not only through films, television and other forms of entertainment and news media, but also through personal communications networks. Low cost travel and telecommunications contribute, in addition, to a reduction in the psychic costs of migration by enabling individuals to maintain close ties with family and friends remaining overseas.

A combination of these and other factors has contributed to an increase in migratory pressures along international borders. The receiving countries

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