IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

On the political economy of high skilled migration and international trade

  • Bougheas, Spiros
  • Nelson, Doug

We develop a two-country, two-sector model with a continuum of workers to address the link between migration and trade where policy is determined by a simple referendum. In particular, we address two questions. First, are states already in free trade areas more likely to support full integration than states without free trade? Second, is trade liberalization more likely to be supported by a simultaneous referendum on trade and migration than in one on trade alone? The key to our analysis is the recognition that for free trade, migration, or trade and migration to be adopted, the relevant policy must pass the referendum in both countries. We identify conditions under which that occurs. Our model provides an interpretation of the evolution of the politics of economic integration related to NAFTA and European Union.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 63 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 206-224

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:63:y:2013:i:c:p:206-224
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2002. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," NBER Working Papers 9242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Benhabib, Jess, 1996. "On the political economy of immigration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1737-1743, December.
  3. Humberto Llavador and Angel Solano-García, 2015. "Immigration Policy with Partisan Parties," Working Papers 499, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Carl Davidson & Steve Matusz & Doug Nelson, 2006. "Fairness and the Political Economy of Trade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 989-1004, 08.
  5. Frederic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2011. "Globalization, brain drain and development," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1108, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  6. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman, 2004. "On The Political Economy Of Immigration And Income Redistribution," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1129-1168, November.
  7. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gérard, 1995. "The Break up of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Protection For Sale," NBER Working Papers 4149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. J. William Ambrosini & Giovanni Peri, 2012. "The Determinants and the Selection of Mexico–US Migrants," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 111-151, 02.
  10. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1993. "The Politics of Free Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 4597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bhagwati, Jagdish & Rodriguez, Carlos, 1975. "Welfare-theoretical analyses of the brain drain," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 195-221, September.
  12. Borjas, G.J. & Freeman, R.B. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "On The Labor Market Effects Of Immigration And Trade," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1556, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Ross, Stephen & Yinger, John, 1999. "Sorting and voting: A review of the literature on urban public finance," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 47, pages 2001-2060 Elsevier.
  14. Hoekman, Bernard & Leidy, Michael P, 1993. "What to Expect from Regional and Multilateral Trade Negotiations: A Public Choice Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 747, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. John McLaren, 2002. "A Theory Of Insidious Regionalism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 571-608, May.
  16. Giovanni Facchini & Cecilia Testa, 2009. "Who Is Against a Common Market?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(5), pages 1068-1100, 09.
  17. Giovanni Facchini & Max Steinhardt, 2010. "What drives US Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes," Development Working Papers 294, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  18. Cyrille Schwellnus, 2008. "The Non-Traded Sector, Lobbying, And The Choice Between The Customs Union And The Common Market," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 361-390, November.
  19. Epple, Dennis & Filimon, Radu & Romer, Thomas, 1984. "Equilibrium among local jurisdictions: toward an integrated treatment of voting and residential choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 281-308, August.
  20. E. Baldwin, Richard & Seghezza, Elena, 2010. "Are Trade Blocs Building or Stumbling Blocs?," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 25, pages 276-297.
  21. Levy, Santiago & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1995. "Transition Problems in Economic Reform: Agriculture in the North American Free Trade Agreement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 738-54, September.
  22. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2000. "Commercial Policy with Altruistic Voters," NBER Working Papers 7984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Oscar Flores, 1997. "The political economy of immigration quotas," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 25(1), pages 50-59, March.
  25. Bougheas, Spiros & Riezman, Raymond, 2007. "Trade and the distribution of human capital," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 421-433, November.
  26. Kar-yiu Wong, 1986. "The Economic Analysis of International Migration: A Generalization," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 19(2), pages 357-62, May.
  27. Razin, A. & Sadka, E. & Swagel, P., 1998. "Tax Burden and Migration: a Political Economy Theory and Evidence," Papers 15-98, Tel Aviv.
  28. Russo, Giuseppe, 2008. "Voting over Selective Immigration Policies with Immigration Aversion," MPRA Paper 6845, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  29. Peter J. Hammond & Jaume Sempere, 2006. "Gains from Trade versus Gains from Migration: What Makes Them So Different?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(1), pages 145-170, 01.
  30. Roberto Perotti, 2001. "Is a Uniform Social Policy Better? Fiscal Federalism and Factor Mobility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 596-610, June.
  31. Pravin Krishna, 1998. "Regionalism And Multilateralism: A Political Economy Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 227-250, February.
  32. Hall, H Keith & Kao, Chihwa & Nelson, Douglas, 1998. "Women and Tariffs: Testing the Gender Gap Hypothesis in a Downs-Mayer Political-Economy Model," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(2), pages 320-32, April.
  33. Stefano Bosi & Eleni Iliopulos & Francesco Magris, 2006. "Skills, Immigration and Selective Policies," Documents de recherche 06-03, Centre d'Études des Politiques Économiques (EPEE), Université d'Evry Val d'Essonne.
  34. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2007. "Measuring international skilled migration: a new database controlling for age of entry," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10411, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  35. Francesco Magris & Giuseppe Russo, 2004. "Voting on mass immigration restriction," DELTA Working Papers 2004-27, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  36. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-85, December.
  37. Markusen, James R., 1983. "Factor movements and commodity trade as complements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 341-356, May.
  38. Ortega, Francesc, 2005. "Immigration quotas and skill upgrading," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1841-1863, September.
  39. Berry, R Albert & Soligo, Ronald, 1969. "Some Welfare Aspects of International Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 778-94, Sept./Oct.
  40. Krishnakumar, Jaya & Müller, Tobias, 2012. "The political economy of immigration in a direct democracy: The case of Switzerland," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 174-189.
  41. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard, 1996. "Distributional Conflicts, Factor Mobility, and Political Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 99-104, May.
  42. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
  43. Wei, Shang-Jin & Frankel, Jeffrey A., 1996. "Can regional blocs be a stepping stone to global free trade? a political economy analysis," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 339-347.
  44. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521873161 is not listed on IDEAS
  45. Spiros Bougheas & Doug Nelson, 2010. "Skilled Worker Migration and Trade: Inequality and Welfare," CESifo Working Paper Series 3282, CESifo Group Munich.
  46. Karin Mayr, 2007. "Immigration and income redistribution: A political economy analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 101-116, April.
  47. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
  48. Noel Gaston & Douglas R. Nelson, 2013. "Bridging Trade Theory And Labour Econometrics: The Effects Of International Migration," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(1), pages 98-139, 02.
  49. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Nelson, Douglas R., 2007. "Can compensation save free trade?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 167-186, March.
  50. M. G. Quibria, 1988. "On Generalizing the Economic Analysis of International Migration: A Note," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(4), pages 874-76, November.
  51. Miguet, Florence, 2008. "Voting about immigration policy: What does the Swiss experience tell us?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 628-641, September.
  52. Blanchard, Emily & Willmann, Gerald, 2011. "Escaping a protectionist rut: Policy mechanisms for trade reform in a democracy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 72-85, September.
  53. Levy, Philip I, 1997. "A Political-Economic Analysis of Free-Trade Agreements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 506-19, September.
  54. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:63:y:2013:i:c:p:206-224. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.