Migration and Trade Policies: Symmetry or Paradox?

46 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2007

See all articles by Jagdeep S. Bhandari

Jagdeep S. Bhandari

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

Date Written: December 2006


In this paper, I discuss the relationship between trade and migration policies on a number of levels and drawn upon several disciplines. Contrary to assumptions often made by writers and scholars (including those in the law) increased trade liberalization does not have predictable effects upon international migration which is a far broader and more complex phenomenon. Nations should (as has the United States) pursue independent policies with respect to international trade and migration. There need not be any hand wringing over the "missed opportunities" for migration reform in the US during trade accords such as the NAFTA because of any necessary linkage between trade and migration. Some of the questions addressed in this paper include the following: What is the relationship between international migration and trade? Is liberalized trade likely to create or diminish incentives for additional migration and conversely? Have policy makers and governments acted as though trade and migration policies were really different sides of the same economic coin? Are governments in more democratic societies more likely to be pro-immigration and pro-trade or conversely compared with less liberal democracies? Are the preferences (to the extent that meaningful franchise exists) of voters between trade and migration symmetrical, i.e. does being pro-trade normally imply that the voter in question is also likely to be pro-migration? What has been the impact of interest groups or coalitions of voters on articulated trade and migration policies historically?

Keywords: Trade, Migration, Immigration, Democracies, Coalitions, Voters Proectionism

JEL Classification: C1, F1, F2, J6

Suggested Citation

Bhandari, Jagdeep S., Migration and Trade Policies: Symmetry or Paradox? (December 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=959065 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.959065

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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