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Backpackers v. Seasonal Workers: Learning from the Contrasting Temporary Migration Outcomes in Australian and New Zealand Horticulture

27 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2017  

Richard Curtain

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre

Matthew Dornan

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Stephen Howes

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre; Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Henry Sherrell

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre

Date Written: November 23, 2017

Abstract

“Crowding out” is a widely accepted claim in migration analysis, evolving from the literature assessing post-Second World War guest-worker labour which helped fuel the economic boom in Europe and other Western countries. Given the costs of regulation, the preference of profit-maximising employers for irregular and minimally-regulated migrants over regulated alternatives will, it is argued, undermine if not condemn to failure well-regulated temporary migration schemes. To test the crowding-out hypothesis, the horticultural labour markets in Australia and New Zealand are examined. The experience of regulated seasonal migrant programs in Australia and New Zealand has been divergent. Even though the two programs are very similar in design, the New Zealand variant has been much more popular than its Australian counterpart. The evidence suggests that the relative attractiveness of regulated and unregulated migrant labour sources depends on a range of factors, including the export orientation of the sector, the costs of collective action and regulation, differences in policy design and implementation, and external factors. Depending on industry and economy-wide characteristics, quality and reputational benefits for employers can offset the cost of regulation.

Keywords: Labour Mobility, Migration, Temporary Migration, Labour Markets, Pacific, Australia, New Zealand

JEL Classification: F22

Suggested Citation

Curtain, Richard and Dornan, Matthew and Howes, Stephen and Sherrell, Henry, Backpackers v. Seasonal Workers: Learning from the Contrasting Temporary Migration Outcomes in Australian and New Zealand Horticulture (November 23, 2017). Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 65, November 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3076585

Richard Curtain

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre ( email )

7 Liversidge Street (Bld 70)
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, 0200
Australia

Matthew Dornan (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory ACT 0200
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://crawford.anu.edu.au/crawford_people/content/staff/mdornan.php

Stephen Howes

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre ( email )

7 Liversidge Street (Bld 70)
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, 0200
Australia

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Henry Sherrell

Australian National University (ANU) - Development Policy Centre ( email )

7 Liversidge Street (Bld 70)
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, 0200
Australia

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