Encyclopedia of Migration

Living Edition
| Editors: Reed Ueda

Labor Migration

  • Mathias Sinning
  • Massimiliano Tani
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6179-7_9-1


International labor migration refers to the movement of individuals from one country to another for employment and other economic reasons that often may be inseparable from reasons such as family reunification, education, and seeking refuge or asylum. Labor migration is regulated by selective immigration policies of destination countries and may affect economic and social conditions in source and destination countries. An increasing number of international labor migrants are temporary workers who return to the source country after a certain period of time.

Detailed Description

Labor migration affects most countries in the world. People do not necessarily find employment or employment adequate to support themselves and their families where they normally live, while other places face local shortages of workers and offer attractive job opportunities. Labor migration, as a notion, emerges as a spatial reallocation to pursue better economic opportunities relative to those...


International Student Migrant Worker Destination Country Family Reunification Agglomeration Externality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Abreu A (2010) The new economics of labor migration: beware of neoclassicals bearing gifts. Springer online http://www.academia.edu/349009/The_New_Economics_of_Labor_Migration_Beware_of_Neoclassicals_Bearing_Gifts
  2. Altbach PG, Reisberg L, Rumbley LE (2009) Trends in global higher education: tracking an academic revolution. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ParisGoogle Scholar
  3. Baruah N, Cholewinski R (2006) Handbook on establishing effective labour migration policies in countries of origin and destination. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Labour Office (ILO), ViennaGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhagwati J, Srinivasan TN (1983) On the choice between capital and labour mobility. J Int Econ 14(3–4):209–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bodvarsson OB, Van den Berg H (2009) The economics of immigration – theory and policy. Springer, Berlin/HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  6. Borjas GJ (1994) The economics of immigration. J Econ Lit 32(4):1667–1717Google Scholar
  7. Castles S, Kosack G (1973) The function of labour immigration in Western European Capitalism. New Left Rev 73(1):3–21Google Scholar
  8. Charnovitz S (2003) Trade law norms on international migration. In: Aleinikoff TA, Chetail V (eds) Migration and international legal norms. T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague, pp 241–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chiswick, Barry R (2005) The Economics of Immigration. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar PublishingGoogle Scholar
  10. Freeman R (2006) People flows in globalization. J Econ Perspect 20(2):145–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Harris J, Todaro M (1970) Migration, unemployment and development: a two-sector analysis. Am Econ Rev 60(1):126–142Google Scholar
  12. Hatton TJ, Williamson JG (1998) The age of mass migration: causes and economic impact. Oxford University Press, New York/OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. IMF (2012) IMF Data mapper: international financial statistics, International Monetary Fund (IMF). http://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/index.php. Accessed 4 Oct 2012
  14. Krugman PR (1991) Geography and trade. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA/LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Lee E (1966) A theory of migration. Demography 3(1):47–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lucas REB (2008) International labor migration in a globalizing economy. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Working Paper No. 92Google Scholar
  17. Markusen JR (1983) Factor movements and commodity trade as complements. J Int Econ 14(3–4):341–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Massey D (1988) Economic development and international migration in comparative perspective. Popul Dev Rev 14(3):383–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mundell RA (1957) International trade and factor mobility. In: Bhagwati J (ed) International trade. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA/London, pp 321–335Google Scholar
  20. OECD (2010) International migration outlook. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ParisGoogle Scholar
  21. OECD (2012) Most recent FDI statistics for OECD and G20 countries. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). www.oecd.org/investment/statistics. Accessed 4 Oct 2012
  22. Ratha D, Silwal A (2012) Remittance flows in 2011 – an update. migration and development brief no. 18, migration and remittances unit. The World Bank, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  23. Roy AD (1951) Some thoughts on the distribution of earnings. Oxf Econ Pap 51(3):135–146Google Scholar
  24. Sjaastad LA (1962) The costs and returns of human migration. J Polit Econ 70(5):80–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stark O, Bloom D (1985) The new economics of labour migration. Am Econ Rev 75(2):173–178. Papers and proceedings of the ninety-seventh annual meeting of the American Economic AssociationGoogle Scholar
  26. United Nations (2011) Trends in international migrant stock: migrants by age and sex. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (United Nations database, POP/DB/MIG/Stock/Rev.2011)Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Borjas GJ (2003) The labor demand curve is downward sloping: reexamining the impact of immigration on the labor market. Q J Econ 118:1335–1374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. World Bank (2012) World development indicators 2012. The World Bank, WashingtonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Zimmermann KF (2005) European migration: what do we know? Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.The University of New South Wales (Canberra)CanberraAustralia