Handbook of the International Political Economy of Migration
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Migration

Edited by Leila Simona Talani and Simon McMahon

This Handbook discusses theoretical approaches to migration studies in general, as well as confronting various issues in international migration from a distinctive international political economy perspective. It examines migration as part of a global political economy whilst addressing the theoretical debate relating to the capacity of the state to control international migration and the so called ‘policy gap’ or ‘gap hypothesis’ between migration policies and their outcomes.
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Chapter 2: Neoliberal globalisation, transnational migration and global governance

Alba I. León and Henk Overbeek


This chapter will survey the nature of neoliberal migration governance in the era of globalisation, and it will specifically attempt to explore the consequences that the global financial crisis has had on global labour markets. The puzzle guiding the chapter is the paradox of the neoliberal age: the liberalisation of trade, services and finance in combination with the continued restriction of cross-border labour mobility. On 15 September 2008, the global financial services firm Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. This seemingly isolated event marked the beginning of a financial and economic crisis, the repercussions of which are felt around the world more than six years later. When the crisis broke out, analysts considered that the time could be ripe for structural changes in the way the global economic system was organised. In particular, there were hopes for further oversight of institutions such as banks, pension funds and other big players in the economic world stage. It seemed that those institutions that had seemed too big to fail would finally face some measure of accountability. After all, crises are considered periods of change and adjustment. Those changes, however, did not materialise. The neoliberal mode of global governance seems to have survived. Yet the impact that the crisis had on global markets shows that this particular historical process is by no means smooth.

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