Handbook of the International Political Economy of Trade
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Trade

Edited by David Deese

David A. Deese brings together leading researchers and writers from different countries and disciplines in a coherent framework to highlight the most important and promising research and policy questions regarding international trade. The content includes fundamental theory about trade as international communication and its effects on growth and inequality; the domestic politics of trade and trends in government trade policies; the implications of bilateral and regional trade (and investment) agreements; key issues of how trade is governed globally; and how trade continues to define and advance globalization from immigration to the internet.
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Chapter 21: The political economy of international migration law

Joel P. Trachtman


This chapter develops a political economy analysis of international migration, and suggests the implications of this analysis for international legal rules relating to migration. As Grossman and Helpman put it, at the conclusion of their leading work on the political economy of protectionism in trade: A next step might be to assess the relative desirability of alternative international “rules of the game.” Such rules limit the policy choices open to national governments and change the nature of the strategic interactions between elected officials and their constituents. Our framework could be used to generate predictions about what domestic policies will emerge from the political process in different [international] institutional settings, and therefore to evaluate which rules give rise to preferred policy outcomes. Given existing wide disparities in wage rates across borders, global welfare would be greatly increased by permitting greater mobility of labor. However, the international political economy academy and the international law academy have devoted much less attention to migration than to international trade or finance, both theoretically and empirically. The welfare factors themselves are complex and variegated, and welfare analysis would require individual country evaluation, and customized solutions, with the possibility for change over time. Thus, there is no single political economy model that can apply to all states, and no monolithic set of international legal rules that can be advanced as the key to unlocking these great welfare increases.

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