Not available in 2020/21
IR347      Half Unit
Political Economy of International Labour Migration

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Covadonga Meseguer


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Relations and Chinese, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The mobility of workers is one of the pillars of globalisation. 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 globalisation 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 democratisation, the survival of dictatorships, political clientelism, corruption, political participation, and political accountability.

Week 1. Overview and Introduction

Week 2. Labour Flows and Economic Theory.

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

Week 4. Trade and International Migration 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 Labour Migration for Sending Countries: Remittances.

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

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



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

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

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 presentation in the LT.

Students are expected to write 1 essay (1500 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%, 2000 words).

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: International Relations

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication