Global Migration and the World Economy: Two Centuries of Policy and Performance.

Author:Hanson, John R., II
Position::Critical essay
 
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Global Migration and the World Economy: Two Centuries of Policy and Performance By Timothy J. Hatton and Jeffrey G. Williamson Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2005. Pp. xi, 471. $50.00 cloth.

World migration since the Industrial Revolution is an always timely topic that normally generates hot political controversy, especially in host countries such as the United States today. In Global Migration and the World Economy, Timothy Hatton and Jeffrey Williamson, eminent economists and economic historians, perform the laudable service of reviewing world migration, nearly in its totality, over the past two hundred years. They seek to distill lessons from history that may shed light in the current debate about migration policy. Although their study is not one of overt advocacy, they encourage the reader to use their material to inform thinking on current migration issues, and they offer an occasional policy opinion of their own, though in an appropriately restrained manner given that they have produced primarily a massive work of scholarship.

The volume contains four major parts: the rise of world mass migration; the fall of world mass migration; the rise (again) of world mass migration; and the future of world mass migration. Each part contains several (usually long) chapters, dealing with almost every facet of migration one can imagine, such as migration in what they call the Greater Atlantic Economy, Third World migration, policy responses to immigration and emigration everywhere, labor-market impacts of migration, economic convergence between sending and receiving countries, chain migration, net benefits of migration, modern African migration, and so on. Additional material on economic globalization, especially as it pertains to world trade, is often introduced. This tome might be compared to, say, Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz's classic Monetary History of the United States (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1963) in terms of the sweep and erudition of its scholarship, though it falls short of that landmark study in several regards.

The potential reader needs to know, first of all, that even though the book is organized according to a logical plan, much of it consists of a neatly packaged assemblage of the authors' previous work published over many years. Hatton and Williamson acknowledge this aspect of the book with, to my mind, inappropriate understatement, though it must in fairness be pointed out that a considerable amount of...

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