Scientific article
Open access

Migration governance through trade agreements: insights from the MITA dataset

Published inThe review of international organizations, vol. 19, p. 147-173
Publication date2024
First online date2023-07-01

States struggle to establish multilateral cooperation on migration – yet they include more and more migration provisions in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). This article sheds light on this phenomenon by introducing the Migration Provisions in Preferential Trade Agreements (MITA) dataset. Covering 797 agreements signed between 1960 and 2020, this dataset offers a fine-grained coding of three types of migration provisions: those that facilitate the international mobility of service providers and labor migrants, protect migrant rights, and control unauthorized migration. Against the backdrop of limping multilateralism, we examine PTAs’ migration policy content with regard to two key cooperation dilemmas: conflicts of interest within developed countries and between them and developing countries. Facilitating business and labor mobility might be a possible way around the first dilemma, commonly referred to as the ‘liberal paradox': the tension between economic demands for openness and political calls for closure. Nevertheless, this facilitation is largely limited to highly skilled migrants and agreements between developed economies. Provisions for migration control tend to be included in agreements between developed and developing countries, which signals that states use issue-linkages to address the second dilemma, i.e. interest asymmetries. Finally, provisions for migrant rights stand out because they do not deepen over time. Our findings suggest that while PTAs have become an increasingly common venue for migration governance, the issue-linkage between trade and migration cooperation perpetuates entrenched divisions in the international system. The MITA dataset will allow researchers and policymakers to track the evolution of the trade-migration nexus and systematically investigate the motives for and effects of various migration provisions in PTAs.

  • Trade
  • Migration
  • Preferential trade agreements
  • Issue-linkage
  • Venueshopping
Citation (ISO format)
LAVENEX, Sandra, LUTZ, Philipp, HOFFMEYER, Paula. Migration governance through trade agreements: insights from the MITA dataset. In: The review of international organizations, 2024, vol. 19, p. 147–173. doi: 10.1007/s11558-023-09493-5
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1559-7431

Technical informations

Creation07/02/2023 8:20:33 PM
First validation07/17/2023 6:36:27 AM
Update time02/26/2024 3:54:48 PM
Status update02/26/2024 3:54:48 PM
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