IR447      Half Unit
Political Economy of International Labour Migration

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Covadonga Meseguer


This course is available on the MSc in Development Studies, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in International Political Economy, MSc in International Political Economy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Political Economy (Research), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research) and MSc in International Relations Theory. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


No pre-requisites

Course content

The mobility of workers is one of the pillars of globalization. However and surprisingly, international political economists have paid less attention to the political causes and consequences of international migration in comparison to that paid to other aspects of globalization such as trade or finance. In this course, we shall employ a political economy perspective to study the historical evolution of migration policy, the relationship between trade and migration, and the political causes and consequences of migration flows. I shall place special emphasis on the study of the political consequences of migration for sending (rather than receiving) countries. We shall also pay attention to an important capital flow associated to international migration: remittances. Rather than focusing on the economic/developmental consequences of remittances, we shall discuss how remittances impact political outcomes as diverse as democratization, the survival of dictatorships, political clientelism, corruption, political participation, and political accountability.

Course Outline

Week 1. Overview and Introduction.

Week 2. Labor Flows and Economic Theory.

Week 3. Causes of International Labor Flows: Economics and Politics.

Week 4. International Labor Flows in Historical Perspective.

Week 5. The Making of Migration Policy (I): Interests and Institutions.

Week 6. Reading Week 

Week 7.The Making of Migration Policy (II): Immigration, the Economy, and Public Opinion.

Week 8. International Migration and International Cooperation.

Week 9. Economic Consequences of International Migration for Sending Countries: Remittances.

Week 10. Political Consequences of International Labor Migration for Sending Countries (I): Autocracies.

Week 11. Political Consequences of International Labor Migration for Sending Countries (II): New Democracies.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of seminars in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to write one essay (2000 words).

Students are expected to make one class presentation.

Indicative reading

Rosenblum, M and Tichenor, D (eds). 2012. The Oxford Handbook of the Politics of International Migration. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hatton, T and J. Williamson. 2005. Global Migration and World Economy. Two Centuries of Policy and Performance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Moses, J.W. 2011. Emigration and Political Development. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kapur, D. 2010. Diaspora, Development, and Democracy: The Domestic Impact of International Migration from India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Solimano, A. 2010. International Migration in the Age of Crisis and Globalization: New York: Cambridge University Press.



Essay (100%, 3500 words).

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 13.3
Merit 60
Pass 24
Fail 2.7

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2017/18: 27

Average class size 2017/18: 15

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information