International Migration at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century: The Role of the State


  • Douglas S. Massey

    1. Douglas S. Massey is Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor, University of Pennsylvania, and Chair of the Sociology Department. He is currently President-Elect of the American Sociological Association.
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This note reviews recent theoretical and empirical work on the determinants and efficacy of state immigration policies to draw conclusions about the future direction of policy regimes throughout the globe and their likely effects. An age of increasingly restrictive immigration policies is emerging, but it is still unclear how effective these policies will be in controlling the volume and composition of international migration. States can be located along a continuum of efficacy with respect to the imposition of restrictive policies. Unfortunately virtually all research done to date has focused on the effectiveness of restrictive policies in major immigrant-receiving developed countries. More research needs to be done to determine just how effective restrictive immigration policies can be under varying degrees of state capacity.