International Migration and Trade: A Multi-Disciplinary Synthesis

90 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2006

See all articles by Jagdeep S. Bhandari

Jagdeep S. Bhandari

Wake Forest University - School of Law; International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Date Written: June 2006


This paper examines the inter-relationship between migration of persons and international trade in goods and services. Trade and immigration policies, their effects and inter-dependence are examined from a variety of viewpoints across several disciplines, and an attempt is made to offer the outline of a synthesis.

The relationship between trade and migration policies is of immediate relevance to policy-makers. Unless such policies were coordinated, lawmakers might find that the desired effects of say, immigration policy might well be undone by independently chosen trade policy and conversely. The experiences of the United States and the European Union are instructive in this regard. Both trade and immigration policies were under the competence of a single supranational institution in Europe and the European Union contemplated concurrent free movement of both goods and persons across national borders, at least within the inner-core countries. In the United States on the other hand, trade and immigration policies have remained de-coupled; trade liberalization has occurred at different times than immigration policy reforms, and in general, while trade policy has been liberalized, immigration policy has been gradually tightened.

Careful examination of the inter-relationship between these policies is desirable in order to assess the differing policy responses chosen across continents and their implications for calibration of future policies.

Keywords: migration, international trade, international relations

JEL Classification: FO2, C2, F10, F22

Suggested Citation

Bhandari, Jagdeep S., International Migration and Trade: A Multi-Disciplinary Synthesis (June 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Jagdeep S. Bhandari (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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