EU468      Half Unit
The Political Economy of Migration and Spatial Inequality in Europe

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Angelo Martelli, CBG.6.04


This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


A basic understanding of economics and economic terms is highly recommended. Students who never had any teaching in economics should take the online Moodle Course EU409, and speak to the course convener.

Course content

This course on the Political Economy of Migration and Spatial Inequality is divided into three main sections. In the first part we rely on the main models used to explain the migration decision and explore what are the main economic effects of migration and its welfare state nexus. Subsequently we investigate the role played by public opinion and attitudes in the configuration of migration policies and support for redistribution. In the last part, we take up topical debates in the political economy of spatial inequality. From the rural-urban gap and the patterns of social mobility to the role of informality and insecurity. A G20 Simulation and the final two lectures on the need for a global migration response and climate-induced displacement will conclude the course. The course would deepen students’ understanding of the role played by migration and spatial inequality in different phases of European integration and policy-making.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 27.5 hours across Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of recorded lectures, flipped lectures (online discussion of lecture materials), and in-person and/or virtual seminars. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of the Lent Term.  A review session will be held at the start of the Summer Term to prepare for the online assessment.

In addition to standard lectures and seminars, there will be a simulation of G-20 negotiations on migration near the end of LT, played over 2.5 hours. The simulation will see students working in teams to represent the interests of particular nations and international organisations involved in global migration governance. Students will be asked to tackle a major topic, and will have the opportunity to practice agenda setting. The final goal is a Master Document consisting of a set of statements on which the caucus votes one by one. To prepare for this game, students will be given detailed instructions early in the term, so that they have time to prepare.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 presentation and 1 short formative essay (1500 words).

Indicative reading

  • Alesina et al (2019) “Immigration and Preferences for Redistribution in Europe”, IZA Discussion paper
  • Borjas G. (2014) “Immigration Economics”, Harvard University Press
  • Dustmann, C. (2003) “Return Migration, Wage Differentials, and the Optimal Migration Duration”, European Economic Review, Vol. 47, pp. 353-367.
  • Dustmann, C., Glitz A. & Frattini T. (2008) "The labour market impact of immigration." Oxford Review of Economic Policy 24.3: 477-494.
  • Dustmann, C., & Frattini, T. (2014). “The fiscal effects of immigration to the UK”. The economic journal, 124(580), F593-F643.
  • Facchini, Giovanni. and Anna M. Mayda (2009), ‘Does the welfare state affect individual attitudes towards immigrants: Evidence across countries’, Review of Economics and Statistics, 91, 291-314.
  • Hirschman. 1978. “Exit, Voice, and the State.” World Politics
  • Kanbur, R. and H. Rappoport (2005), “Migration selectivity and the evolution of spatial inequality”, Journal of Economic Geography.
  • Roy, A. D. (1951) "Some Thoughts on the Distribution of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers (New Series), 3, 135-146.


Essay (25%, 1500 words) in the period between LT and ST.
Online assessment (75%) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness