29.01.2020 in Review

Theories of International Migration

The United States, Canada, and Australia are the most immigrant-receiving societies. One should say that other developed countries also suffer from migration. Consequently, there is the necessity of studying this issue. One can distinguish many theories and approaches related to the problem of international migration. However, it is difficult to determine the most effective one due to the increasing the rate of migration in the world. The problem is that theories of international migration ignore the important aspects of social reality and the political dimensions. As a result, this essay intends to summarize the key theories and approaches of international migration to define the most suitable ones for treating the problem of migration. 

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Theories and Approaches

International migration makes the developed countries diverse and multiethnic. The recent boom in migration creates the necessity of determining the unique theory for understanding this phenomenon. The problem is that there is no coherent and single theory of international migration. One can distinguish such theories as the microanalytic theory, alternative approaches, macro theory of neoclassical economics, micro theory of neoclassical economics, the multidimensional approach, Marxist approach, and the new economics of migration. To understand these theories, one should analyze their peculiarities. 


The microanalytic theory is more than the formal model that responds to the unevenly distributed opportunities. It means that international migration is far from the perfection as it does not provide the equal political and economic possibilities. The strength of the microanalytic theory is that it regards international migration as a voluntary individual movement. This theory also underlines the barriers that complicate the migration process. The problem is that this theory is not coherent and should be applied in complex with other theories. Moreover, this theory ignores the political aspect crucial for the migration processes. One should say that the microanalytic theory does not divide migration into domestic and international one. 

The alternative approaches to international migration regard this question as a driving force of conflicting interests. Moreover, they regard migration as a process generated by the unevenness. The limitation of these approaches is related to regarding migration only from the political perspective that explores the movement of people across space and the process of redistributing. The political boundaries are crucial when it comes to international migration. However, they should be studied together with the social and economic perspectives. The alternative approaches to international migration take into consideration the contemporary realities. The political experts insist on the importance of determining the political boundaries for making the immigration processes safer and more economically justified.  The political approach is microanalytic and historical. It insists that international migration cannot be rooted out. Moreover, the political approach pays attention to transfer of jurisdiction. Additionally, the adoption of the political perspective is elusive as it regards international migration as a deviance from the usual norm of the social organization. 

Macro theory of neoclassical economics refers migration to the economical dilemma. Consequently, it insists on regarding this problem from the economic perspective. Moreover, macro theory determines geographic differences as the driving forces of migration. Micro theory of neoclassical economics takes into consideration an individual choice. This theory is more tolerant to the desire of people to migrate abroad. Consequently, it regards migration as the investment in the human capital. It is evident that people move to become more productive to achieve the higher labor productivity. The cost-benefit calculations encourage the migration processes. Consequently, macro theory takes into consideration the international movements, individual human capital, social conditions, and government’s control. 

The multidimensional approach to international migration regards the problem in the world system. Within the world system, international migration is an uneven exchange between geographical regions. The multidimensional approach regards migration as an inevitable phenomenon that is justified by the political and economic world situation. However, to make the multidimensional approach more effective one should rely upon Wallerstein’s analysis of the modern system that is based on the dynamics of capitalism.  The world systems theory is preoccupied with the problem of immigration because of the lack of land and necessary resources. 

As to Marxist approach, it is right stating that international migrant labor is an extreme form of proletarianization. It means that this approach is against immigrants. However, it is too categorical as migration can also benefit economics. The Marxist approach suggests confining migrants strictly to their economy to establish a legal device of migration regulations. Labor migration is inevitable. However, it does not mean that migration is related only to the labor aspect. 

Another important theory is dual labor market theory ignores micro-level decision processes. Dual labor market theory regards immigration as a natural consequence of economic globalization and market penetration. Dual labor market theory states that international migration can lead to the structural inflation, motivational problems, economic dualism, and the poor demography of labor supply. However, dual labor market theory regards also international migration as a driving force of economic growth as some countries feel the lack of labor force.  

In the present times, there is an innovative approach to international migration. It is the new economics of migration. This new theory states that migration decisions are made by the related people. Moreover, this approach presupposes that immigration should be in measure and does not provoke the harmful processes in the world community. Liberal regimes should allow people the legal migration as illegal one leads to increasing crime rate and negative economic, and political processes. However, one cannot say that the influence of international migration will be similar for all markets. It is evident that the ideal immigration theory should be based on the economic, social, and political perspective to provide the objective vision of this problem. 


In conclusion, one should say that there is no a perfect approach or theory to international migration. Consequently, it is difficult to explain it in a proper way. One can distinguish the microanalytic theory, alternative approaches, and macro theory of neoclassical economics, micro theory of neoclassical economics, the multidimensional approach, Marxist approach, and the new economics of migration. The variety of theories and approaches proves that political and economic experts have no a common opinion on this issue. However, it is evident that the usage of all these theories in complex can help to understand the strengths and weaknesses of international migration. The problem of these theories and approaches is that they cannot be used for all countries. Some countries need the immigrants because of the necessity of labor force that will raise economy. Others countries are preoccupied as the rate of the illegal immigration is constantly increasing. 

Response to Articles

Both articles are worth of reading as they reveal the problem of international migration and the variety of theories and approaches that can explain the theoretical implications of issues. These articles are informative and inspires to reflection about the perfect theory of international migration. The information in these articles coincides with my opinion on immigration. The problem is that the authors do not give the recommendations what the best approach is necessary for explaining the increasing of migration processes in the world. However, it does not diminish the value of these articles as they regard the problem of migration from the political, economic, and social perspectives. One can recommend these articles to the economic and political experts to determine the most effective one for treating the problem of migration.

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