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 12: The migration–trade nexus: migration provisions in trade agreements

Sandra Lavenex and Flavia Jurje


Migration policy has hitherto not been a stronghold of global governance. In contrast to the flow of goods and finance, where states have established strong international bodies, no parallel development has taken place for the mobility of persons. Despite ample attempts at stronger cooperation, ‘there is still no consensus on whether global governance is really required, what type of global governance would be appropriate, and how it should develop’ (Newland 2010: 331). With the exception of the international regimes for labour rights and refugees established in the interwar period, states have been reluctant to agree on binding multilateral migration norms (Betts 2011). International cooperation has been addressed mainly by ‘soft’ law, such as the Global Commission on International Migration, the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development and the Global Forum on Migration and Development. This reluctance towards international rules and coordination is however only one, even if perhaps the predominant, side of the coin. A set of norms facilitating labour mobility has started to develop as part of trade agreements, particularly related to trade in services. Recognised as one essential mode of the cross-border trade in services, the temporary mobility of natural persons has become an essential element of newer trade agreements at the multilateral, plurilateral, regional and bilateral levels.

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