21/02/2018 Migration Seminar by Samuel Schmid

Beyond the liberal paradox? Immigration and Citizenship Policies in 20 OECD countries 1980-2010
Samuel Schmid, European University Institute (EUI)
Venue: 1.23
Date: Wednesday 21 February
Time: 13:00 – 14:00

Regarding immigration, liberalism shows two faces. In the wake of globalization, economic liberalism pushes for more open borders, while political liberalism demands that, after entry, immigrants are granted rights and, ultimately, passports. As both opening borders and making citizenship more inclusive can create significant political risks, James Hollifield has proposed that policy-makers regulating immigration find themselves trapped in a liberal paradox. The liberal paradox thesis makes two predictions. The first assumes that certain immigrants create less political risks than others. Hence, policy-makers will seek to expand openings for high-skilled labor migrants and their family reunification, while shutting their doors to low-skilled labor, so-called economic migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees – and their families. Thus, the openness in policies targeting different migrants should be negatively correlated. The second prediction is that the risk created by opening borders and more immigration must be compensated by making access to citizenship conditional upon strict restrictions to preserve the integrity of the national community. Therefore, the openness of borders and the inclusiveness of citizenship should be negatively correlated. Based on various datasets covering 20 OECD countries from 1980 to 2010, this paper tests these predictions. Among other things, a categorical principal component analysis pooling all 620 country-year observations demonstrates that policies targeting various groups of immigrants can be reduced to a single statistically consistent dimension. This suggests that countries display a general tendency of openness in regulating entry into their territory rather than opening and closing borders selectively. This finding is further corroborated by separately examining trends in openness towards different immigrant groups, namely high-skilled and low-skilled labor migrants, family reunification, and asylum seekers using alternative datasets. Furthermore, citizenship policies emerge as a separate and statistically consistent dimension of their own, showing only a minimal negative correlation with immigration policies. Finally, when analyzing the trends and patterns of convergence in immigration and citizenship policies, the paper finds that whereas there is a clear pattern of convergence in making borders more open, citizenship liberalization has been more limited and much less convergent.

About the speaker
Sam is a PhD researcher at the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence. Supervised by Rainer Bauböck and Maarten Vink, he investigates the relationship between the openness of borders and the inclusiveness of citizenship. Further fields of research include democratic inclusion and the franchise in an age of migration as well as attitudinal and behavioral research in the realm of immigrant integration. Sam holds a BA in Political Science (summa cum laude), a MA in World Society and Global Governance (summa cum laude) from the University of Lucerne, Switzerland, and a MRes from the European University Institute. During and after his studies, he also worked as a research associate, teaching assistant and junior lecturer at Department of Political Science in Lucerne. In addition, Sam has contributed to the GLOBALCIT Observatory as a research associate to help develop and code the ELECLAW indicators (database on electoral rights). He continues to be involved in this ongoing and expanding project at the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies at the EUI.