Sharing the Risks and Rewards of Economic Migration

Bradford, Anu H.

Economic theories and empirical studies on economic migration have for a long time supported greater liberalization of international economic migration. Contrary to this evidence, fears of negative distributional consequences associated with migration have kept borders tightly regulated. This Article has sought to respond to the source and destination countries' key concerns without taking a position on whether those concerns are well founded. Instead, the above discussion is built on a premise that these concerns constrain countries' ability to free migration. This calls for policies that reframe the migration debate from a zero-sum game to a positive-sum game. Countries will only agree to liberalize migration flows if both destination and source countries are insured against the downsides of migration while guaranteed a share of the gains that beneficial migration creates. The multiuse and conditional nature of the Migration Fund would have the advantage of simultaneously addressing the concerns of source countries and destination countries without imposing a dual burden on the migrant. As a result, we should see greater acceptance of international economic migration, resulting in greater global welfare, as well as a more equal distribution of that welfare.


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University of Chicago Law Review
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December 7, 2015